New Rankings Find Our Area Has Least Healthiest, Healthiest Counties In Pennsylvania

Henrietta Strickland
March 14, 2018

The new Rankings State Reports call attention to key drivers of health such as children in poverty.

The annual County Health Rankings report shows Onondaga had the fifth highest rate of chlamydia in NY in 2015. 2 and 3 in the rankings. Holmes, Coahoma and Quitman were ranked as the least healthy counties.

Jerry Spegman is a community coach for the group that assembles the rankings, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The County Health Rankings are released annually and were first issued in 2010. Blue Earth County ranked 54th in the measure.

Another notable factor in the report is a continuous upward trend in sexually transmitted infections and alcohol-related behaviors.

Of the counties surrounding Philadelphia, Chester ranks first in health outcomes, Montgomery is ranked fourth, Bucks is ranked seventh and DE is ranked 49th.

According to the report 23 percent of children in Ingham County are living in poverty.

"What we really want people to see is that there's other things like, do you have a great education?" explained Julie Willems Van Dijk with the UW Population Health Institute. "For example, in some of the lower-performing counties in MS, the children poverty rate is very high, there's a very low median household income, and that usually correlates to access to health care in terms of providing better health outcomes in the long run". Raquel Bournhonesque, a County Health Rankings public health representative, said counties often move up or down the list relative to how other counties perform. "Look at the median income in the upper (ranked) counties and the lower (ranked) counties and see how that translates to health". The measures largely come from data already available to them or may not be as up to date as the research states collect.

Center Executive Director Trina Thompson said her staff has been developing partnerships with existing organizations and recruiting volunteers to address population health issues on a variety of fronts.

For example, in quality of life, the county's rank improved from 22nd to 20th, but the data supporting it was the same. "Unfortunately, many Delta residents don't have reliable access to a primary care provider and are not able to address symptoms before they worsen or get care for chronic conditions on a regular schedule".

New this year, the report shows racial and ethnic disparities for a few select categories - "that information is quite hard to obtain", Pezzino said.

The rankings representat a snapshot that compares counties within states. Nearly all of these patients are African American.

In the nine years of the rankings, Livingston County has been as high as number one and never lower than 12th among New York's 62 counties.

For instance, the teen birth rate of 10 per 1,000 girls and women between ages 15 to 19 is significantly lower than the statewide average of 30 - however, the numbers for black and Hispanic teens in Douglas County are 26 and 18, respectively, and just 8 for white teens. In Madison, the white teen birth rate was 9 per 100,000 teenage females, while the number is almost four times as high (34) for black female teens. The Rankings show that where you live influences how well and how long you live.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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