Obesity is a national epidemic, one that has accounted for as much as 21 percent of overall medical spending ($190 milllion). Its impact is pervasive regionally as well, with the prevelance of adult obesity and overweight ranging from 56 percent in Ontario County to 72 percent in Wayne County. Obesity and overweight are particularly high in minority populations, estmated to affect 75 percent of African Americans in Monroe County.
While public health initiatives continue to reduce the overall population's exposure to tobacco, chronic respiratory disease remains problematic in the region. On average, 17 percent of adults in the Finger Lakes smoke, however smoking rates among individuals with less education and lower incomes is significantly higher (28 percent). Asthma is the third most prominent chronic condition among Medicaid beneficiaries and causes more than 5,000 emergency room visits per year in local hospitals.
In its 2015 recommendations, the Regional Commission on Community Health Improvement called for evidence based public health interventions that promote healthy eating and physical activity across the lifespan and that reduce smoking and exposure to environmental triggers. The commission also supported paying clinicians for provding preventative care. Below are links to the commission's research and recommendations, issued July 2015.