Forest, Oneida and Vilas County Community Health Improvement Plan

“Becoming the Healthiest Nation” is this year’s theme for National Public Health Week which starts April 3rd. There could not be a better time to announce the completion of the Forest, Oneida and Vilas County Health Improvement Plan!

The multi-county plan is a collaboration among health departments, community members, health care partners, local elected officials, tribal health partners, and other government agencies.   Health departments and hospital systems both have requirements to complete local health assessments and because there are many agencies, including health care systems that serve all three counties it made sense to collaborate on one health improvement plan. During the recently completed Community Health Assessment, the top three priority health issues were identified as Chronic Disease, Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, and Mental Health. The Community Health Improvement Plan includes goals, objectives and target outcomes, along with suggested strategies to improve those health issues.

The intent of the plan is to provide an outline for our many coalitions that are already working to improve the health of our residents and also foster new partnerships and encourage others to work together. Health is not something we get at a doctor’s office; it starts in our homes, schools and work places, and playgrounds and parks.   The strategies in the plan include suggested programs that have been shown to be effective but it also stresses that we need to improve our physical and social environment and implement policies to make healthy behaviors the easy choice.

The plan is closely linked to Wisconsin’s Health Plan: Healthiest Wisconsin 2020, Everyone Living Better Longer. There are several overarching priority areas within the plan; health across the lifespan, health equity, and access to health care. By assessing health at all stages of life, providing equal opportunities regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or socioeconomic status, and addressing barriers to everyone receiving quality care, we will contribute to a better quality of life for all of our residents.

The next steps are to share this plan with the community and work with existing coalitions to implement the strategies and measure success toward the goals. A copy of the Community Health Improvement Plan can be found on each county’s website. It is our hope that community members will read through the plan and find some way to incorporate these strategies into your work, home and your lifestyle.  If you are interested in participating in a workgroup or any activities related to the improving the health of all residents, please call your local health department for more information.

Click here to view the plan: 2017 Community Health Improvement Plan , or view it under the Community Health Plan menu tab.

Forest County Health Department                                                    Oneida County Health Department     715-478-3371                                                                                             715-369-6111

Vilas County Health Department                                                                                                               715-479-3656

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March is National Nutrition Month!

National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign created every year by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It is designed to bring awareness to the importance of making informed food choices and developing lasting, positive nutrition and physical activity habits.

The theme for this year is “Put Your Best Fork Forward”. This is a reminder that each bite counts, and even making small changes in our food choices can add up over time and make a difference in our overall health.

This month you are encouraged to start making these small changes to improve your health. You can do this by including a variety of your favorite, healthy foods in your meals and cooking more meals at home while experimenting with fresh, healthier ingredients. If you do choose to go out to eat, it is easier than ever to choose healthier options at restaurants. Choose a side salad or steamed vegetables rather than mashed potatoes or fries. You can also control your portions by asking for a to-go box when you get your meal and put half of it away to bring home.

Remember that good nutrition and physical activity go hand-in-hand. Find different activities that you enjoy and try to be active most days of the week. Enjoy the warmer weather by taking a walk outside!

For more information, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ website at

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National Children’s Dental Health Month

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, placing emphasis on the need for parents and caregivers to take action early to ensure the health of their children’s teeth.

The Forest County Health Department reminds the public that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease found in children. Each year, more than 51 million school hours are lost due to dental related problems. Fortunately, with good oral health care habits, tooth decay can be prevented.

CDC lists some things you can do to ensure good oral health for your child:

  • Encourage your children to eat regular nutritious meals and avoid frequent between-meal snacking.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste. If your child is less than 7 years old, put only a pea-sized amount on their toothbrush.
  • If your drinking water is not fluoridated, talk to a dentist, physician, or health department about the best way to protect your child’s teeth.
  • Talk to your child’s dentist about dental sealants. They protect teeth from decay.
  • If you are pregnant, get prenatal care and eat a healthy diet. The diet should include folic acid to prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord and possibly cleft lip/palate.

Taking care of your children’s teeth, including baby teeth, from the very start is the key to good oral health. A child should visit the dentist when his or her first tooth appears, or by his or her first birthday. Parents and caregivers are very important to serve as role models and teaching their children good oral (dental) health care habits, including proper brushing and flossing techniques, eating nutritious foods and making regular visits to the dentist.

Forest County Public Health partners with the Northwoods Dental Project to provide dental varnishes, sealants, and exams in area Head Starts and schools. Please visit our Northwoods Dental Project website under Services/Dental to find out about our programs to keep your child’s teeth healthy!

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February is American Heart Month!

February is American Heart Month

This month is the time to learn about your risks of heart disease and stroke, and learn how to stay “heart healthy” for yourself and your loved ones. Cardiovascular disease –including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure—is the number one killer of men and women in the United States. About 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of 1 death every 40 seconds. Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives each year than all forms of cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease combined.

You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease.

Follow these tips for better heart health:

  • quit smoking and avoid second hand smoke
  • control your blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure
  • eat a healthy diet
  • get physically active
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • avoid alcohol consumption
  • get regular check-ups with your provider.

Being physically active is important to prevent heart disease and stroke. To improve overall cardiovascular health, at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise is suggested. Thirty minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal to remember. You will also experience benefits even if you divide your time into two or three segments of 10 to 15 minutes per day.


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Flu Cases on the Rise in Wisconsin

Adults ages 65 years and older are especially affected

Flu cases are on the rise, and health officials are urging people to take precautions. Simple steps, including getting a flu shot, help protect against the flu.

There have been 161 influenza cases to date this flu season, and 95 influenza-associated hospitalizations, including 8 children and 78 adults ages 50 and older. Of those hospitalized with influenza, 63 percent were ages 65 years and older.

Influenza can range from mild to severe, and in some cases can cause life-threatening complications. Symptoms can come on quickly and include fever, headache, dry cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, body aches, and tiredness. If someone does get the flu after getting vaccinated, it is more likely to be a milder case. Everyone aged six months and older should be vaccinated annually.

Remember these tips for protecting against the flu:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your upper sleeve, and try to avoid touching your face with your hand. If you use a tissue, throw it away after one use.
  • Use your own drinking cups and straws.
  • Avoid being exposed to people who are sick with flu-like symptoms.
  • Eat nutritious meals, get plenty of rest and do not smoke.
  • Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, refrigerator handle, telephone, faucets).
  • If you think you have the flu, call your doctor. Stay home, rest, drink plenty of liquids, and avoid using alcohol and tobacco

For more information visit:

We have flu shots available. No appointment necessary. We can bill Medicare and Forward Card.

We also have a limited supply of free children’s flu vaccine.


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