At a forum today at the State Capitol before dozens of public health, health care, and community partners, the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) released Live Healthy Connecticut, a coordinated chronic disease prevention and health promotion plan.


Four out of five leading causes of death in Connecticut are from chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and chronic lung disease. Over ninety percent of Connecticut adults report a chronic disease risk factor such as smoking, being overweight or obese, unhealthy diet or lack of physical activity. Certain populations based on race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or other factors are most vulnerable to developing chronic diseases and suffering complications from chronic disease.


“Chronic diseases, place a huge toll on the health of Connecticut residents, particularly our most vulnerable,” said Governor Dannel P. Malloy. “Tackling this issue is critical to the future of our state. We know that healthy kids perform better at school and healthy adults perform better at work and healthy neighborhoods and communities are essential for a vibrant state. This plan charts a course to a future where healthy choices are easy choices, high quality prevention-services are widely accessible, and a Connecticut where everyone can live healthy.” 


Live Healthy Connecticut identifies ambitious yet achievable goals in 12 priority areas, including health equity, nutrition, physical activity, obesity, tobacco, heart health, cancer, diabetes, asthma, genomics and oral health. A comprehensive set of indicators track progress in each of these priority areas with a particular focus on vulnerable populations. The strategies and interventions in this plan fall into three broad categories:


Environmental approaches that promote health and support and reinforce healthful behaviors. This strategy focuses on developing and implementing policies and practices that make healthy choice the default choice such as promoting smoke free policies, school wellness policies and healthy food procurement by large purchasers. 


Health system interventions to improve the delivery and use of clinical preventive services. This strategy focuses on establishing policies and practices in health systems that ensure individuals are receiving the highest standard of preventive care in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner. Examples include cancer screenings, quality dental care, blood pressure control and comprehensive diabetes care.


Strategies to improve linkages between community resources and clinical settings. This strategy focuses on establishing policies and practices to promote use of community-based preventive services and strengthening coordination with clinical services. Examples include home-based asthma interventions, diabetes education and prevention programs and use of community health workers to gather family health history.


“Achieving better health by preventing and reducing chronic disease is within our reach, but requires a coordinated response from individuals, families, communities, local and state agencies, health care providers, and business, and government,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. “This plan can help us get there.”


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