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Butte survey results show room for community health improvement

A view of Big Butte on a sunny spring day in Butte. (Photo: NBC Montana)
A view of Big Butte on a sunny spring day in Butte. (Photo: NBC Montana)
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Results of a health survey in the Mining City and surrounding community have been released, with an aim at shaping future public health efforts.

At a press conference at St. James Hospital on Thursday, officials detailed the findings of the latest Community Health Needs Assessment, Butte’s first since 2020.

Hundreds of local residents, a representative sample of the local population, answered a multiple of questions for the project to provide a snapshot on the overall health of the community. In addition, a key informant survey was conducted by local leaders, social service agencies and physicians.

The five areas of opportunity that the assessment identified are access, chronic disease, modifiable risks, behavioral health and social determinants and environmental health.

Data from this assessment will be used in the coming months to help develop a Community Health Improvement Plan, which will outline actions needed in the next three years to improve the community’s health.

Some of the findings from the are concerning, according to local leaders.

For example, 18.1% of people surveyed reported experiencing fair or poor health, compared with 12.8% in the state and 12.6% in the U.S.

This is reflected in the survey question about weight, with Butte higher than the national and state averages for the prevalence of overweight and obese people.

“All of these issues take a village. I takes more than just one department and one entity, it takes a group of people which is one good thing about Butte, we get together and figure out solutions to problems,” Butte-Silver Bow health officer Karen Maloughney said.

“We know and care about each other. Where we have a strong history of overcoming significant obstacles. And where our concerns for our neighbor calls us to continue to work towards a healthier, happier life for all,” said Jay Doyle, president of St. James Healthcare.

One of the handful of positives from the survey is that nearly 30% of adults and over 70% of kids are meeting physical activity recommendations, both of which are higher than the national average.

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