Published: Thu, March 30, 2017
Health Care | By Gwendolyn Kim

Escambia Again Ranked Among Unhealthiest Counties in State

Escambia Again Ranked Among Unhealthiest Counties in State

Cathy Harding, chair of Healthy Communities Wyandotte's steering committee, said the county can point to some successes.

This is the seventh year in a row that Philly has ranked at the bottom of the state's 67 total counties.

"We are celebrating the improvements that have been made in the county, but also want to draw attention to our decline in the health factor ranking which moved from 6 to 15", he said.

To create the rankings, the foundation looks at numerous weighted health and wellness indicators, including smoking rate (10 percent), rate of adult obesity (28 percent), ratio of physicians to people (1,950 to one) and social conditions such as the childhood poverty rate (7 percent). The county also has a high number of children in poverty, almost 20 percent.

Numerous health factors and outcomes across the three western-most counties are on-par, such as adult smoking and obesity, access to exercise opportunities, and the percentage of people who are uninsured.

Four other West Michigan counties made it into the top 20: Barry County ranked 9, Allegan is 13, Kent ranked 17, and Ionia County came in at number 19. Twenty-one percent of Douglas County residents reported "severe housing problems", well above the statewide figure of 14 percent.

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"Previously, we used the county health rankings prominently in our own health assessment process, but we've really kind of backed away from doing that". The report says drug overdose deaths are fueling a "dramatic" increase in premature deaths nationally because of an increase in deaths among 15- to 44-year-olds.

The rankings are based on two categories: health outcomes, meaning results, and health factors, meaning local elements that either enhance or degrade health. For the two primary indicators, the county ranked 44th in health outcomes - down five steps - and 53rd in health factors - down nine.

Hampden County public-health departments, area hospitals, legislative representatives, and community nonprofits have been collaborating since 2014 to develop the CHIP and are looking forward to implement the county-wide plan in a much more strategic and unified way. As you might expect the presence of Penn State University helped make Centre County the second healthiest county in the commonwealth.

The rankings put St. Clair County 95th out of 102 IL counties, according to the 2017 national County Health Rankings recently released. It is 23rd in clinical care, 18th in physical environment and 30th in social and economic factors. The factor was not included in the health factor rankings, but Spegman said a high rate would not bode well for the individuals or their community. Olmsted scored particularly high - 96th percentile - in "access to exercise opportunities".

The five counties in the poorest health, starting with least healthy, are Quitman, Randolph, Clay, Jefferson and Early counties.

Large suburban metro counties went from the lowest to the highest rate of premature death due to drug overdose within the past decade.

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