SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Even with two major health systems and the VA hospital, some people in the Sioux Falls area aren’t getting the health care they need. And that’s not the only problem the 2022 community health assessment uncovered.
Alcohol and drug use are top concerns for local health officials. Poisoning – specifically from drug use – is one of the top causes of unintentional injury deaths in the area.
28 percent of all driving deaths involved alcohol. And more than one in five (21.4 percent) adults reports binge drinking.
“We’ve always known from the previous assessment that this is a challenge in our community but it continues to trend in the negative direction. So perhaps this is an opportunity for us to raise awareness about this in our community so we can all come together and sort of create an emergency around substance use in our community,” Dr. Charles Chima, Public Health Director for the City of Sioux Falls, said.
The study found in 2019, one in 5 adults in the Sioux Falls area reported being diagnosed with depression.
“When you look at the substance abuse or the overdoses and the mental health, you know, this is very real to us. We take this very seriously. We look at mental health and suicide ideations just like an acute heart attack,” Dr. Donna Jark, acting chief of staff for the VA, said.
Health officials also looked into chronic diseases and found that more than one in three people is obese (35.5 percent), just over 11 percent have diabetes and 31.2 percent of the population has high blood pressure.
Now that the 2022 report is complete, health care officials will work together to make the community more healthy.
“We have goals around physical activity and healthy eating because we recognize that at the population level, these are really the factors that are driving some of these concerns,” Chima said.
Social and economic factors that play a role in the health of residents were also outlined in the 2022 Community Health Assessment. Those findings include that 21.4 percent of the population reported not having a primary health provider. Food deserts have also increased in the city since the last assessment, limiting access to health food options for some.