DES MOINES — A new cycle is beginning with the state's health assessment and improvement plan, and Iowa Department of Public Health officials are asking citizens to weigh on their health.

The state health assessment (SHA) and improvement plan is conducted every five years, and that cycle will begin a new five-year period. The plan will help develop the state's health priorities for those who live, learn, work and play in Iowa.

Before beginning a new cycle, the IDPH tracked some of the state's trends from the previous five-year cycle, acknowledging "there have been good strides made, there is still work to be done."

Some of the keys from the 2017-2021 cycle:

• The number of overweight adults has decreased since 2016 and the number of adults who report obesity has decreased two years in a row. Parents who report childhood obesity (10- to- 17-year-olds) decreased by 13%, but parents who reported their children were overweight increased by 48%.

• Fruit and vegetable consumption has increased among Iowa adults, and physical activity for children 6-11 has increased 20%.

• Suicides have increased for all ages under 40, and the state ranks seventh-lowest nationally in mental health providers per capita, despite a 28% increase in providers.

• Iowa had the fifth-lowest opioid-related death rate in 2019, but there has been an increase in youth (12-17) illicit drug use.

• The state had the nation's third-highest estimate for youth alcohol use (11%) and fifth-highest percentage of adults who drink alcohol excessively (22.5%).

• The number of youth smoking cigarettes has declined 16%, but there are large disparities in smoking among adults with lower incomes, disabilities and minority groups.

The state's full 2021 Progress Report from the last five-year cycle will be available later this summer.

To participate in the assessment survey for the next cycle, a link is available on the IDPH web page.

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