If you're looking to live a healthy life in a healthy Atlantic County community, the county government has a suggestion for how you can help do that.

Or actually, Atlantic County's Public Health Division has a request for you: Please take a few minutes and fill out a "community health survey" the office has been circulating for the past several months.

Patricia Diamond, the county's health officer, promises that's easy to do.

The 35-question survey is available at all Atlantic County Library branches, at county-run senior and nutrition centers and at health fairs or festivals where the county has a booth. But probably the simplest way to answer the questions is to go online at aclink.org/publichealth.

The survey is available in both English and Spanish.

Diamond says the questionnaire follows up on a 2007 study conducted as part of a Community Health Improve-ment Plan.

It includes a wide range of issues related to living healthfully, but much of the focus is on problems "people are having accessing health care, or continuing or beginning on a healthy lifestyle," Diamond said. "A lot of our questions deal with barriers - barriers to exercise, to health care or to healthy food."

The county mailed out 2,000 surveys to random addresses early this year, then did a second mailing.

"We got a decent return," Diamond said, estimating the number at about 700 so far, "but not enough to make the final tally ... reliable."

The county's health agency is cooperating on the survey and the health plan it will inform with a big group of partners, including AtlantiCare; Shore Medical Center; the Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation; Atlantic City's Health Depart-ment; Richard Stockton College of New Jersey; Atlantic Cape Community College; and the United Way of Greater Phila-delphia and Southern New Jersey.

Contact Martin DeAngelis:

609-272-7237

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