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Healthy Connections

Health and wellness are key to a thriving community. That’s why four local health agencies – including Tri-County Health Care – have joined together to improve the health of the people in our communities.

A Healthy Partnership

Todd-Wadena Healthy Connections was established in 1993 as a health coalition made of public and private health agencies serving the communities of Todd and Wadena counties. Those health agencies include Tri-County Health Care, Wadena County Public Health, Lakewood Health System, and Todd County Health and Human Services.

Maternal child health nurses and health educators from each of these entities coordinate project activities at the community level and meet the goals of the coalition board.

Mission: To provide a forum for communication and collaboration to improve the health of people in our communities.

Vision: To be recognized as a healthcare provider coalition to address health issues.


  • To enhance health promotion, education and services in our communities
  • To identify and reduce duplication of resources and/or services
  • To enhance relationships among healthcare providers in Todd and Wadena counties
  • To remove barriers for optimal health status


  • To collaborate on building healthy communities
  • To distribute and collect information through a Community Health Assessment
  • To coordinate activities that improve population health

Focus Areas

Prevent Diabetes

Around 1 in 3 American adults have prediabetes, and most do not even know they have it. Prediabetes occurs when blood sugar (glucose) levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diabetes. People with prediabetes are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Between 15-30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes within five years, but not everyone with prediabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes.

Who is at risk?

Older adults: Prediabetes is more common among older adults age 18–44. This number doubles for adults 45 or older.

Overweight or obese adults:People who are overweight or obese are more likely to have prediabetes than people who are normal weight.

Adults who get little physical activity: Physical activity is associated with maintaining a healthy weight and lowering the risk of prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes.

Who should get tested for prediabetes?

If you are 45 years old or older and overweight, it is recommended that you get tested. However, even if you are not overweight but are within this age range, you should still consider being tested.

If you are between the ages of 18 and 44 and have any one of the following risk factors, it is also recommended that you get tested:

  • Physical inactivity
  • Birth parent, brother, or sister with diabetes
  • Had gestational diabetes when pregnant
  • Delivered a baby that weighed 9 pounds or more
  • Family background that is African American, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino or Pacific Islander
  • High blood pressure
  • Low HDL “good” cholesterol
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Dark patches in skinfolds – neck, armpits or groin
  • History of cardiovascular disease

Talk with your healthcare provider about how to lower your risk for prediabetes.

Source: Minnesota Department of Health, Diabetes Unit - Center for Health Promotion and the American Diabetes Association


The purpose of 5-2-1-0 is to address America’s health crisis of overweight and obese children and families. This simple message is an easy-to-remember method for helping you and your family eat healthy and be active. Here’s what it means:

5 – Eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables every day: The vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables helps kids grow and fight off illness. Eating fruits and vegetables fill up a child's stomach with low-calorie, healthy foods.

2 – Cut TV and computer screen time to 2 hours or less every day: Many kids sit and watch TV and snack for hours every day. As a result, they reach an unhealthy weight and have trouble keeping up with their friends in active play.

1 – Participate in at least 1 hour of moderate physical activity every day or 20 minutes of vigorous activity at least 3 times a week: Active play is fun and great for your child’s health. Active kids will likely become active adults. What you teach them early will become part of how they live as an adult.

0 – Aim for 0 sugar-sweetened drinks every day by restricting soda pop, sports drinks, and fruit drinks. Instead, drink water and 3-4 servings a day of skim or 1% milk: Drink less sugar. Try water and low-fat or fat-free milk instead of sugar-sweetened drinks and whole milk. Soda, sports drinks, chocolate milk, and juice have a lot of sugar, which adds empty calories.

5-2-1-0 was developed by the American Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

Pregnancy and Prevention

Todd-Wadena Healthy Connections is comprised of maternal child health nurses from each of the member agencies. The nurses work together to provide comprehensive information on pregnancy, child health, car seat check-ups and other resources.

Todd and Wadena County Public Health have several public health nurses who can help pregnant and postpartum women who are without insurance or under insured.

Public health nurses can perform:

  • Prenatal home visits to follow up and provide assessments and education
  • Postnatal home visits to follow up on general baby care, parenting skills and environmental safety factors including car seat safety
  • Assessment of the mother’s condition in relation to vital signs, self-care, breast care and breastfeeding education, nutrition, elimination, exercise and rest, contraception and family (sibling and spouse) relationships


Tri-County Health Care – Wadena


Wadena County Public Health – Wadena


Lakewood Health System – Staples


Todd County Health & Human Services – Long Prairie