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Assessing the Impact of Income on Mental Health and Physical Activity

Washington County is one of the healthiest counties in the state, yet the health outcomes for certain populations living in the County differ greatly. The 2014/2015 Metro Survey of the Health of All the Population and the Environment (SHAPE) highlighted several key disparities along income categories, including higher rates of mental distress and lower rates of leisure-time activity among those with lower incomes.

In 2017, Washington County conducted a series of focus groups with community members with the intent of assessing the impact income on mental health and physical activity. The goal of the focus groups was to hear from individuals who may be experiencing disparities in these areas and initiate a conversation on the conditions, causes, and potential pathways towards health equity. The infographics below summarize the main topics of the focus groups, highlighting the barriers and positive influences residents identified on both topics.

This project was funded through a Minnesota Department of Health grant designed to assist county health departments in conducting a Health Equity Data Analysis. This process identifies differences in health outcomes between population groups and describes the broader policy and systems factors that contribute to the inequalities. The results of this analysis will help provide direction for actions to reduce and eliminate these health inequalities in Washington County.