You may want to check out a new report to see how healthy residents are in your county and how your area compares to the rest of the state.
|Top 10 healthiest Indiana counties
|Click image for bigger version.
The fifth County Health Rankings & Roadmaps study, released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute, rates the overall health for all 92 Indiana counties.
Rankings are based on health outcomes, which measures length and quality of life, and health factors that include behaviors such as tobacco and alcohol use, access to care, level of education, and environmental conditions. This year, the study measured housing, transportation and access to mental health providers.
Nearly all the top 10 healthiest counties named in last year’s report retained the same ranking this year. Among them is Wells County, which attributes its position to a strong family support system.
“We have a small-sized county, so we have the ability to be more cohesive and have better outcomes than larger communities,” said Wells County Health Officer Kay Johnson-Keys, M.D., M.P.H.
The Bluffton ob/gyn explained that the report helps counties see their strengths and weaknesses. She said part of the health plan for her county will be to address obesity.
“This report can help physicians develop a plan based on data,” said Dr. Johnson-Keys. “The information is helpful, but it shouldn’t be considered an indictment against communities that do not score as well. Every community has different challenges that impact the effectiveness of health initiatives. Population size, crime rates, drug problems and the prevalence of a given health issue are a few examples.”
Madison County was among those that improved its ranking. Placing 80 last year in health outcomes and 86 in health factors, the county rose to 79 in both categories.
|Kay Johnson-Keys, M.D., M.P.H., Bluffton
||Stephen Wright, M.D., Anderson
“Our rankings are so low because of personal lifestyle choices for the most part,” explained Stephen Wright, M.D., Madison County health officer. “There are many groups including, the Leadership Team, Madison Health Partners, the county health department, and many private businesses and organizations trying to build momentum toward a healthier Madison County. Any improvement is a move in the right direction. We are fortunate to have a good medical community, clinics, hospitals, etc.”
According to the Indiana State Department of Health, the biggest drivers for Hoosier’s poor health are obesity and tobacco use.
Nationally, the report shows that people who live in the least healthy areas are twice as likely to have shorter lives as those living in the healthiest counties. Additionally, unhealthy counties have twice as many children living in poverty and twice as many teen births as the healthiest counties.
Read more here.