Health and Wellness

One specialty area of HHS Extension is Health and Wellness. There are currently 18 health and wellness educators in the state who take a particular interest in health and wellness topics for Extension programs and to educate their communities.

In 2013, HHS Extension formalized a partnership with the Purdue School of Nursing with a Health and Wellness Specialist position shared between Extension and Nursing. The role of this individual is to provide leadership and support to HHS Health and Wellness Educators and increase the use of faculty research in Extension education activities and engagement opportunities through partnership with the School of Nursing.

Indiana has room for improvement in health and wellness for all Hoosiers to have a higher quality of life and achieve greater longevity! For instance, among Hoosiers:

  • Nearly 31% of adults 18 and older are considered obese.
  • Only 5.3% of high school students consumed fruits & vegetables 5 or more times per day.
  • About 3% of adults 18 and older consumed the recommended amounts of fruits & vegetables.
  • 28.5% of high school students and 35% of adults 18 and older consumed a sugar-sweetened beverage one or more times per day during the previous week.
  • Less than on quarter (24.2%) of high school students engaged in the recommended level of physical activity during the previous week (60 minutes per day).
  • Nearly 30% of adults 20 and older reported no leisure time physical activity.
  • One in five adults (21.2%) 18 and older is current smokers.
  • One in ten adults (10.2%) 18 and older has medically diagnosed diabetes.
(Data access from Indiana Indicators’ website on February 19, 2014: http://www.indianaindicators.org/StateDashboard.aspx

An emerging area of interest among the health and wellness educators is heart health. Cardiovascular disease poses a serious long-term threat to the United States and its healthcare system. Heart disease is the number one national and worldwide killer of men and women, and more than 600,000 Americans die of heart disease and stroke each year (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). Indiana has the 13th highest death rate from cardiovascular diseases in the country (American Heart Association, 2010). In the state of Indiana, heart disease is the number one cause of death (American Heart Association, 2010).

The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) identified the following as the top priority public health issues for the state (2013):
  • Reduce infant mortality
  • Increase childhood immunizations
  • Reduce adult obesity
  • Reduce adult smoking
(Accessed 2/21/14: http://www.in.gov/isdh/18930.htm)

To learn more about the efforts of ISDH and other statewide health priorities and data, visit: www.isdh.in.gov

If you have questions about HHS Health and Wellness or would like to connect with the Health and Wellness Specialist, contact Stephanie Woodcox at swoodcox@purdue.edu