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Mt. Vernon hospital wants to know: Do you eat healthy?

SEDRO-WOOLLEY — Poor diet is one of the leading causes of disease and early death in the United States, but United General Hospital is trying to change that — at least in eastern Skagit County.

The hospital has teamed up with the Washington State Department of Health and its Healthy Communities Washington program to study food-related attitudes and behaviors among county residents, starting with an online survey.

The Skagit Healthy Food Survey includes about 20 questions on where people get food, how balanced their diets are, what factors influence those decisions, and what would make eating healthier easier for them.

One question asks respondents to choose some options they think would help them eat healthier. Those options include online recipes, EBT outreach and SNAP education, starting a community garden, and simply making healthy food more affordable.

Results will be used to design healthy-food initiatives in Skagit County, the survey’s introduction says.

United General’s Community Health Outreach Programs collaborate with other groups to provide prevention and early intervention information and resources to reduce drug abuse and violence, as well as promote other community health strategies in Skagit County.

Healthy Communities Washington is a state Department of Health project that partners with county health departments to make changes on a local level to help people eat healthier foods, get more physical activity and avoid tobacco.

Recently, the project implemented a program in Skagit, Island and Snohomish counties to encourage students to walk and bike to school.