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Get Healthy DC!

“There are many different types of disadvantaged neighborhoods in America, but poor urban minority neighborhoods seem to be especially unhealthy. Some of these neighborhoods have the highest mortality rates in the country, but this is not, as many believe, mainly because of drug overdoses and gunshot wounds. It is because of chronic diseases — mainly diseases of adulthood that are probably not caused by viruses, bacteria or other infections and that include stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer.”

GHETTO MIASMA; Enough To Make You Sick? By Helen Epstein

Over half of adult District residents qualify as overweight, and nearly one quarter qualify as obese. The links between obesity and disease are reflected in the top five chronic diseases that affect District residents: hypertension (25 percent of population), asthma (10 percent), diabetes (8 percent), heart disease (5 percent), and cerebrovascular disease (3 percent). Obesity and associated chronic diseases cost the city over 2 billion dollars annually in medical costs.

The Carl Vogel Center (CVC) created Get Healthy DC!, to address obesity and chronic disease in the District of Columbia. Our strategies to reduce barriers to the identified target populations include encouraging DC residents who go untested to receive a health screening by providing intensive outreach and dialogue about obesity and chronic disease; offering a one-stop low barrier screening on an array of diseases so individuals are easily able to obtain a range of test results; providing ongoing education to target populations to prevent diabetes, hypertension and obesity; providing a care coordinator so that services are well coordinated and follow-up occurs; and training peer educators to develop community-based capacity to maintain health gains.

The greatest opportunity to halt the obesity epidemic lies in empowering the community to respond to their health needs. Residents can collectively work together to promote the social and environmental conditions that favor healthy eating and physical activity and that prevent overweight from occurring in the first place. One of the main goals of Get Healthy DC! is to develop community capacity— that is to determine what the challenges are in the community, how to fix the problems, generate or redirect resources, and implement community-devised solutions to obesity and chronic diseases.