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Kentucky Health Issues Poll summary: Most Northern Kentucky adults’ responses similar to state; more know someone who experienced problems with heroin use

Sep 7, 2017

Since 2008, the Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP), sponsored by Interact for Health and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, has
tracked Kentucky adults’ opinions about health-related issues.

“In the 2016 poll, most responses from Northern Kentucky adults were similar to the state as a whole,” says O’dell Moreno Owens, M.D., M.P.H.,
President/CEO of Interact for Health. “However, there were a few key differences in Northern Kentucky as compared to the rest of the state.”

Adults in Northern Kentucky were less likely to:

  • Have a firearm in their home

Adults in Northern Kentucky were more likely to:

  • Report eating the recommended servings of fruits
  • Report easy access to healthy foods in their neighborhoods
  • Rate the conditions of their neighborhood sidewalks and shoulders as excellent, very good or good
  • Rate their neighborhood as a very safe place to walk, jog or bike
  • Know someone who has experienced problems as a result of heroin use.

“These surveys help us determine the issues Northern Kentucky adults are facing and how to best focus our efforts to serve their needs,” says Dr. Owens. “These results show ways that we can help support changes for the good of all residents."

Tobacco-free policies

At present, only about 1 in 3 people in Kentucky are covered by locally enacted comprehensive smoke-free ordinances. For the state as a whole,
support for a statewide smoke-free law increased from 54 percent in 2011 to 71 percent in 2016. In Northern Kentucky, 73 percent of adults favored a law. This is an increase in support from 2011, when just 54 percent of Northern Kentucky adults favored a statewide law.

Raising the minimum legal age to purchase tobacco products would likely delay young adults’ initiation of smoking and decrease health problems. In Northern Kentucky, about half of adults (51 percent) favored increasing the minimum legal age to buy tobacco purchases in Kentucky from 18 to 21. Statewide, 58 percent favored raising the legal age to 21.

Drug abuse

In the state as a whole, nearly 2 in 10 Kentucky adults (17 percent) reported knowing family or friends who have experienced problems as a result
of using heroin. This was higher in Northern Kentucky, where nearly 4 in 10 Northern Kentucky adults (36 percent) knew someone who has experienced problems as a result of heroin use.

In Northern Kentucky, nearly 2 in 10 adults (16 percent) reported that a family member or friend has experienced problems as a result of using
methamphetamines and nearly 3 in 10 (27 percent) reported that a friend or family member had problems with abuse of prescription pain relievers. These were similar to statewide results.

Health insurance and health care

About 1 in 10 Northern Kentucky adults (11 percent) ages 18 to 64 were uninsured at the time of KHIP. This is a significant decrease in the percentage of uninsured adults since 2012 when more than 1 in 3 adults (35 percent) were uninsured. In 2016, Northern Kentucky adults ages 18 to 64 reported similar rates of being uninsured when compared with the state as a whole (12 percent).

This decline in uninsurance is attributable to Kentucky’s expansion of Medicaid, which began in October 2013. As part of the Affordable Care Act
(ACA) in Kentucky, this expansion allowed more Kentuckians to get health insurance because they had low income or they received financial assistance to buy insurance as required by the ACA. In the initial enrollment period, 521,000 people enrolled through Kentucky’s insurance website known as kynect, 75 percent of whom were previously uninsured.

Delayed medical care

Having health insurance coverage does not always mean being able to afford needed medical care. About 2 in 10 Northern Kentucky adults (18
percent) reported a time in the last 12 months when they or a member of their household needed medical care but did not get it, or delayed getting it, due to cost. This was similar to the state.

Depression and awareness of mental health support

Nearly half of Northern Kentucky adults (49 percent) know a friend or family member they perceived to have a serious problem with depression
according to the 2016 KHIP. More than 7 in 10 Northern Kentucky adults reported knowing who to contact for services or treatment for depression (72
percent). These results were similar to the state.

Overall health status

In 2016, nearly half of Northern Kentucky adults (49 percent) reported that their health was excellent or very good, compared to 43 percent of adults statewide.

More information about Northern Kentuckians’ opinions about health related issues is available at

About the Kentucky Health Issues Poll

The 2016 Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) is funded by Interact for Health and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. KHIP was conducted Sept.
11-Oct. 19, 2016, by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. A random sample of 1,580 adults from throughout Kentucky was
interviewed by telephone. This included 827 landline interviews and 753 cell phone interviews with cell phone users. In 95 of 100 cases, the statewide estimates will be accurate to ± 2.5%. There are other sources of variation inherent in public opinion studies, such as non-response, question wording or context effects that can introduce error or bias. For more information about the Kentucky Health Issues Poll, please visit or

About Interact for Health

Interact for Health is building healthy communities for all people. We serve as a catalyst for health and wellness by promoting healthy living through
grants, education, research, policy and engagement. Interact for Health is an independent foundation that serves 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. More information is available on our website,

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