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Thurston County, Washington

The content on the Thurston County website is currently provided in English. We are providing the “Translation” for approximately 10 languages. The goal of the translation is to provide visitors with limited English proficiency to access information on the website in other languages. The translations do not translate all types of documents, and it may not give you an exact translation all the time. The translations are made through an automated process, which may not result in accurate or precise translations, particularly of technical and legal terminology.

Public Health and Social Services

There are simple things we can do to prevent many chronic diseases, such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease, as individuals and across the Thurston County community. These involve avoiding asthma triggers, eating well, and keeping active in our daily lives.

Thurston County Public Health and Social Services aims to bring about community changes that make it easier for residents to engage in healthier behaviors and support lifelong healthier living.

woman smiling and kneeling down to garden

Active Living

Thurston County is trying to increase levels of physical activity among residents. The recommendation for adults is to get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day, at least 10 minutes at a time, 5 or more days per week. For young people, being active 60 minutes a day is recommended. There are many ways to be active in our daily lives.

Walking is one of the easiest ways to be moderately physically active. If more people walked each day - for exercise, commuting, errands, short trips in town, or even a stroll for fun - our community would be on the path to better health. Reducing sedentary behavior and increasing moderate physical activity have been shown to reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and help prevent obesity.

To learn more, visit our webpage about how public health and partners are working together to increase opportunities in our community for residents to be more physically active:

Healthy Eating

Thurston County Public Health and Social Services works with local partners to increase access to healthy foods throughout the county.  Improved access to healthful foods such as fruits and vegetables leads people to eat more of them, in turn decreasing the risk of chronic disease. Community gardens contribute to the increased access to and consumption of fruits and vegetables (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). 

Visit our Healthy Gardening webpage to learn more about Thurston County Community Gardens: 

Living Well Thurston Workshop - Managing Your Chronic Condition

A self-management resource program with the Self-Management Resource Center

  • Online, interactive workshops for people with chronic physical or mental health conditions or chronic pain and their caregivers.
  • Living Well and Living Well with Chronic Pain are similar programs. Living Well with Chronic Pain is more focused on chronic pain, rather than a diagnosed physical or mental health condition.
  • Learn to set goals and better manage your health or chronic pain.
  • Led by two skilled, trained leaders.
  • Sessions occur once a week for 2 ½ hours over six weeks (seven weeks for online workshops).
  • Based on the Self-Management Resource Center's Chronic Disease Self-Management Program and Chronic Pain Self-Management Program.
SMRC logo: graphic of person standing on mountain with arms raised and "Self-Management Resource Center"


    Living Well Thurston Overview Flyer

    The workshop is free and includes either a Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions or Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Pain book.

    For more information, call our Living Well Coordinator at 360-867-2515 or send an email to

    • Health problems that are long term or long lasting.
    • Conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, depression, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain. 

    There are many ways to classify chronic pain. Chronic pain can be associated with a chronic disease like arthritis. Chronic pain can also exist when there is no known cause like chronic neck or shoulder pain or fibromyalgia.

    Other Information for Preventing Chronic Disease

    We do not know why some people have asthma, but we do know that asthma "triggers" can cause an asthma attack. Though asthma triggers are different for each person, there are some very common triggers found in many homes.

    • Asthma triggers are allergens and irritants that, when breathed in, may cause lungs to react badly. Common types of triggers found in Thurston County include dust mites, mold, odors, fumes, and pets.
    • Health care professionals can help you find ways to better manage asthma, but there are also many things you can do on your own that make a difference.
    • Asthma triggers can make asthma attacks happen more often and can also make it more difficult to manage the way asthma makes you feel each day.

    The Home Environmental Assessment List™ helps people identify conditions in their homes that may be triggering asthma attacks. 

     Asthma (CDC)


    Healthy Home and Yard

    Tobacco Prevention

    Take Small Steps to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes:

    STEP 1:  Choose to Move

    Adding 30 minutes of walking into your daily routine can help you feel better and get healthier. Walking 10 minutes at a time is a great way to start – it is simple and inexpensive. Work your way up to 5 days a week and you'll be on the road to a healthier you.  

    STEP 2:  Balance Your Plate

    Making healthy food choices and cutting down on the amount of food you eat will help manage your weight and prevent Type 2 Diabetes. Choose foods that are lower in fat. Try a new fruit or vegetable each week. Make sure you always have a healthy snack with you in case you get hungry, like a piece of fresh fruit, a handful of nuts, or low-fat yogurt. Visit MyPlate to learn more.

     Diabetes (CDC)

    Thurston County Public Health and Social Services envisions a community where Thurston County’s children and their families are making healthy food choices and engaging in regular physical activity daily to prevent longer term health problems. The 7-5-2-1-0 campaign and related efforts are how our community has been encouraging progress in ensuring healthy child weight. 

    Thurston County encourages children and their families to follow some simple steps toward staying healthy and preventing chronic illness through the number 7-5-2-1-0:

    7- Eat breakfast every day.
    5- Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
    2- Limit screen time (time in front of a computer, television or video games) unrelated to school to 2 hours or less daily.
    1- Get 1 hour or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
    0- Drink less sugar. Try water and low-fat milk instead of sugar-sweetened drinks.

    Learn more about the 7-5-2-1-0 campaign.

    There are many ways to approach employee health and fitness.  As an employer you need to do what works best in your work environment. While this is a past program, there is information for employers on what they can do to support a healthier workforce.

    Supporting Employee Health and Fitness

    Health plays an important role in our daily lives, both at work and home.  Productivity, absenteeism, and decision-making are related to an employee's health status.  The way workers deal with stress, cope with change, or experience illness connects to health and fitness.

    Strategic approaches to health can increase employee performance, lower health care related costs, and improve overall morale.  In many workplaces, addressing employee health and fitness is a key management tool.

    Employers depend on the workforce to achieve their goals and mission.  Even simple, modest efforts to address health can result in visible, tangible benefits both to the employer and employee.

    What benefits can employers and employees expect from a healthier workplace environment?

    • Increased productivity
    • Improved ability to cope with change.
    • Better decision making
    • Reduced stress
    • Enhanced performance
    • Improved morale

    Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States and here in Washington State. More information on our community's efforts to curb tobacco use is available on the Substance Use Prevention webpage: 

    Substance Use Prevention

    Contact our Education and Prevention program at for more information or if you have additional questions.