County health rankings in the TN Valley

Dr. Norman Sitz checks a patient’s medical record while working in his office Tuesday in Pendleton

Dr. Norman Sitz checks a patient’s medical record while working in his office Tuesday in Pendleton

In Minnesota, Carver County is number one in the overall health rankings.

Also, the county's percentage of children living in poverty has gradually declined each year from 17 percent in 2014 to 12 percent this year, and is now better than the statewide average of 14 percent.

The report also notes Allen County's health weaknesses: Adult smoking (19 percent); adult obesity (29 percent); alcohol-impaired driving deaths (32 percent); and sexually transmitted infections (545.5 per 100,000).

There was some correlation between population and health outcomes, in which counties with more residents tended to rank higher in terms of health outcomes.

The county's ranking for health factors - 30 measures relating to health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic and physical environment values - has been up and down. Bournhonesque said the report highlights certain county public health issues that might be hidden behind seemingly positive public health measures. Elven percent of people live with "poor or fair health" and about six percent of babies are born with a low birthweight. "In the first years, we have brought the rate to even with the state level, with the program participants being recruited from patients flagged as having risk factors in their health records for preterm delivery".

The analysis looks at how long and how well residents live, says Francine Axler of the nonprofit Public Health Management Corporation. "Every community should use their County Health Rankings data, work together, and find solutions so that all babies, kids, and adults - regardless of their race or ethnicity - have the same opportunities to be healthy". Counties toward the top of the chart have the highest incomes while counties to the left of the chart have the best health outcomes. "I think we've targeted the issues that we know have been a challenge in Douglas County and have brought many, many partners to the table to try to address them in coming years". The Livingston County Community Health Improvement Plan continues to focus on initiatives regarding chronic disease prevention, mental health promotion and substance abuse prevention, and fall prevention among seniors, which correlate to the areas mentioned above. Poor health exists in places segregated from opportunity.

"These numbers are seen as a way to open up questions", he said.

This year's report shows some troubling trends. As the Journal-World has reported, both Douglas County and the University of Kansas campus have seen increased rates of STIs this year. Across the state, about 27 percent report high BMI.

Counties in south-central Minnesota varied greatly in new health rankings released today, even as they shared certain areas of concern.

Rockland County moved from the number two position in the state previous year to be listed as the healthiest county in the just-released 2018 county health rankings by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The percentage of driving deaths involving alcohol had been trending downward, from 33 percent in 2014 to 24 percent previous year, but that number rose to 30 percent in the most recent report. These health gaps are largely influenced by differences in opportunities that disproportionately affect people of color, such as access to quality education, jobs, and safe, affordable housing. The full rankings are available at Contact Mackenzie Clark Have a health story idea, news or events to share?