It is important for all Kansans to have access to health care, for help when they are sick, and to prevent or reduce the severity of disease and illness. In Kansas today, however, one in six adults age 18 to 64 lack health care coverage. And, one in three do not have dental coverage. For others, the challenge is not having enough health and dental providers close to where they live. KHF supports efforts to address gaps or barriers to access care, to help improve the health of all Kansans.
Tobacco use and obesity remain the leading causes of preventable death and illness in Kansas. One in three Kansans are obese (31%), and just over 17% of Kansans smoke. KHF invests in programs and supports policy efforts that promote health eating, physical activity and tobacco use prevention. Some of this work is focused on encouraging healthier individual behaviors. Some is shaping the environment so Kansans have access to healthy food and ways to be physically active. And, some efforts are to change policies to affect larger populations.
KHF recognizes individuals’ health and well-being are also influenced by where and how they live. And stronger communities also help improve the health of Kansans. However, Kansas data indicates that individuals and groups that traditionally experience poor health outcomes may be less likely to participate in the election process, contact their elected officials or attend public meetings. Active, engaged community members help to shape policies, express needs and expectations, determine how resources are allocated, and elect their representatives. KHF invests in programs that help to build stronger communities and to encourage more Kansans to be civically engaged, and provides the support for leadership, information and data. The result is improved health outcomes for residents and healthy, vibrant communities for all.
Research shows that individuals with more education live longer, healthier lives than those with less education. And, Kansas data indicates that lower levels of education are often linked to lack of health care coverage, limited ability to pay for medical or dental treatment, higher use of tobacco products, increased obesity rates and poor health outcomes. The state average for graduation rates (2016) was 86%, which means that 14% of students were left behind. In addition, 65 of fourth graders are not proficient in reading. KHF believes that by improving educational attainment, we can work toward better employment opportunities and better health outcomes.
Every month, our electronic newsletter, Health Happenings, features a story about a focus area, grant, partnership or program involving the Foundation.
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