SAFFORD — The 2023-2028 Community Health Assessment for Graham and Greenlee counties is one step closer to completion.
The last preliminary report was issued on June 22, and organizers were seeking input on the report this week before issuing the final report in July.
A total of 2,892 responses to Community Health Survey were collected, with 2,258 responses from Graham County residents and 525 from Greenlee County residents. Both response rates are up over the last health survey in 2019.
According to survey respondents, substance abuse was the top health problem in the Gila Valley, followed by mental health, aging, cancers and child abuse/neglect.
The report also indicates that residents of rural areas are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases, due to fewer resources when it comes to treatment and prevention. To shore up that finding, more than 22 percent of survey respondents said they suffer from high blood pressure, 18 percent describe themselves as overweight, and 17.85 percent said they have high cholesterol.
It was also found that Graham County has a higher rate of diabetes than both the state and national averages, and is second highest in the state, behind Apache County, when it comes to the mortality rate from diabetes per 1,000 population.
Graham County also has a higher rate of heart disease prevalence than the state average; however, Graham County is below the state and national averages when it comes to cancers per 1,000 population.