Clark County, Nevada
Obesity and Tobacco Use Prevention
“AS A RESULT OF RECEIVING CPPW FUNDING TO ADDRESS TOBACCO USE AND RISING RATES OF OBESITY, THE SOUTHERN NEVADA HEALTH DISTRICT PIONEERED A NUMBER OF FAR-REACHING PROGRAMS DESIGNED TO EDUCATE, ENCOURAGE, AND CHALLENGE SOUTHERN NEVADA RESIDENTS AND VISITORS TO MAKE HEALTHIER CHOICES.”
— Lawrence Sands, MD, Chief Health Officer, Southern Nevada Health District
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“PERHAPS MY GREATEST FEELING OF ACCOMPLISHMENT CAME WHEN ONE OF THE HOMELESS VETERANS SHOWED UP AT OUR CESSATION CLASS. A HOMELESS VETERAN GOT OFF THE STREETS AND INTO A RECOVERY PROGRAM WHERE WE CAN SERVE HIM WITH AN INTENSIVE TOBACCO CESSATION INTERVENTION.”
— Richard, Clark County resident
Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) is an initiative designed to make healthy living easier by promoting environmental changes at the local level. Through funding awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010, a total of 50 communities are working to prevent obesity and tobacco use—the two leading preventable causes of death and disability.
Clark County, Nevada, is tackling obesity and tobacco use throughout the community, which is home to nearly 1.9 million residents. Approximately 60% of adults in Clark County are overweight or obese, and less than 25% of adults meet the Federal government's guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption. Further, 12.9% of Clark County high school students are overweight, and 12.3% are obese.
Tobacco use prevention also is a priority health focus, as approximately 22% of Clark County adults smoke cigarettes, which is higher than the national average of 17%. Smokeless tobacco use is also a concern among youth, a segment of the population that comprises approximately 25% of county residents. Additionally, 15.4% of high school students in Clark County are current smokers.
Obesity and tobacco use rates are disproportionately high among some segments of Clark County's population. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adults in the county use tobacco at higher rates than their peers. In addition to obesity and tobacco use prevention efforts aimed at the county's entire population, certain initiatives target these high-risk groups.
If healthy options are not available, then healthy living is not possible. With the support of the CPPW initiative, Clark County has implemented a variety of changes throughout the community to make healthy living easier.
To decrease the prevalence of obesity, Clark County:
- Implemented at least two hours of annual training for childcare providers in the areas of childhood obesity, nutrition, and physical activity. This will help to ensure that more than 573 facilities are knowledgeable in how to maintain healthy environments and prevent childhood obesity.
- Commemorated Nevada Moves Day, a date that encourages students to walk or bike to school and encourages schools to participate in the local Safe Routes to School program. More than 21,000 Clark County School District students, as well as parents, local mayors, school board members, and other community leaders participated by walking, biking, or riding a scooter to school.
- Supported a state initiative that allows nonprofit youth sports leagues and other organizations serving disabled youth and adults to use many of the school district's athletic fields, affecting more than 664 schools.
- Worked with the City of North Las Vegas in adopting a physical activity and nutrition policy for afterschool programs that requires a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity per day, limits screen time, and establishes nutrition standards. This will affect more than 2,400 children in North Las Vegas.
To decrease tobacco use, Clark County:
- Focused efforts on a public education campaign that informs residents about the dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke and educates them about various tobacco-related policies. The campaign includes television, radio, and print elements.
- Supported the expansion of the Southern Nevada Health District's tobacco-free campus policy, protecting approximately 375,000 employees and clients from the dangers of secondhand smoke.
- Conducted a survey of 50,000 public housing residents that identified the health effects of smoking as a top concern for residents. The survey found that 78% of residents would like their homes to be 100% smoke-free. Survey results have been presented to the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority's Board of Commissioners and are being used to inform a smoke-free public housing policy that is currently under development.
- Increased call volume to the tobacco cessation quitline through targeted outreach to at-risk populations and the development of a cessation referral network. To date, the call volume totals 14,393, which averages 960 calls per month and surpasses original projections.
(The list above is a sample of all activities completed by the community.)
The Clark County School District has made great strides in making school meals healthier for students. As the fifth-largest school district in the nation, the district serves more than 310,000 students and prepares approximately 190,000 meals each day. The district has eliminated trans fats from all food prepared and served in district schools. Additionally, the school district is working to increase access to fruits and vegetables by offering additional servings of fresh produce to meal options. Other efforts are also underway to increase fiber and decrease sodium in meals served.
Community Events Go Smoke-free
Clark County worked with community partners to ensure that several high-profile community events were smoke-free, including CBS Radio's annual Bite of Las Vegas, the annual Las Vegas Gay and Lesbian Pride Festival, Telemundo Fair, the Clark County Fair and Rodeo, and Pet–a-Palooza. In addition to implementing tobacco use policies, these events were free of tobacco sponsorships, sampling, and advertising. The Pride Festival also promoted the tobacco-free policy for the event in three prominent print publications and across multiple social networks. More than 175,000 people attended the events.
The leadership team includes high-level community leaders from multiple sectors, who have the combined resources and capacity to make healthy living easier. Members of Clark County's leadership team are key agents for change in their community. The leadership team includes representatives from the following organizations:
- Office of the Governor, Nevada
- American Heart Association
- American Lung Association of Nevada
- Goshen Community Development Coalition
- Nevada Office of the Attorney General
- Nevada State Legislature
- Nevada State Medical Association
- Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada
- Southern Nevada Health District
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