Tobacco use and obesity remain the leading causes of preventable death and illness in Kansas. Approximately 1 in 3 Kansans are obese (35.2%), and 16.2 percent of Kansans smoke. KHF invests in programs and supports policy efforts that promote healthy eating, physical activity and tobacco use prevention. Some of this work is focused on encouraging healthier individual behaviors, and some is shaping the environment so Kansans have access to healthy food and ways to be physically active. And, other efforts are to change policies to affect larger populations.
Obesity is a key measure of overall health, as those classified as obese face greater risk of cardiovascular diseases and multiple types of cancer. According to the most recent edition of the State of Obesity report, Kansas had the 12th highest adult obesity rate in the nation at 35.2%. This number has continued to climb throughout the past decade. In the map below, county-level adult obesity rates in Kansas are shown. The rates stated come from the 2021 County Health Rankings report.
Within the Healthy Behaviors impact area KHF seeks to increase physical activity and improve access to healthy foods. Both of these goals could contribute to lowering the adult obesity rate in Kansas. Currently, KHF is working to improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables in rural areas through a rural grocery initiative and is supporting community food banks and adult activity programs.
Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of death and disability in Kansas and nationwide. Use of tobacco, particularly smoking, significantly increases the risk of multiple cancers (including, lung and oral cancers) and cardiovascular disease. The map below shows the adult smoking rates per county in Kansas. The rates state come from the 2021 County Health Rankings report.
Within the Healthy Behaviors impact area KHF seeks to decrease the rate of tobacco usage in all forms. This includes smoking, vaping and smokeless tobacco use. Through the years, KHF has funded the Tobacco Free Kansans Coalition, worked to make school grounds and campuses smokefree, advocated for the Clean Indoor Air Act and funded multiple statewide awareness campaigns. Though the smoking rate has dropped significantly over the years, the deadly consequences of tobacco use make KHF committed to continued work in this area.
Nearly 13 percent of all Kansans (368,770 people) are food insecure, including a 18.4 percent food insecurity rate in children (129,780 children). KHF is working to shape the environment so Kansans have access to healthy food and food assistance. The rates below come from Feeding America’s 2018 Map the Meal Gap.
Within the Healthy Behaviors impact area, KHF seeks to improve access to healthy food and expand food assistance so that all Kansans have more consistent access to healthy food, no matter where they live. Currently, KHF is working to improve access to fresh, nutritious food through its Kansas Healthy Food Initiative, is working with food policy councils to improve local policies about food practices and is supporting community food banks and expanding access to child nutrition programs.
KHF’s objective for the Healthy Behaviors impact area is: More Kansans have the opportunity and are taking steps toward living a healthy lifestyle, through access to healthy food, active living/physical activity and decreasing tobacco use. In 2021, KHF will be actively engaged in funding the following major initiatives in this impact area. Please note, the amounts indicated represent the total, multi-year commitment of these grants.
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