A recently released study is ranking Indiana counties based on their citizens’ health.
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – A recently released study is ranking Indiana counties based on their citizens’ health.
The 2018 County Health Rankings report was released this month by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The report looks at vital health factors – including high school graduation rates, obesity, smoking, unemployment, access to healthy foods, the quality of air and water, income inequality, and teen births – in nearly every county in the United States.
County Health Rankings and Roadmaps director Dr. Julie Willems Van Dijk said one of the most critical factors to a long life is the rate of children in poverty. The study found minorities are particularly at risk.
“Black and Hispanic children in Indiana are doing worse than white and Asian children,” said Willems Van Dijk.
In Indiana, Hamilton County near Indianapolis ranked as the healthiest county. The county placed first in health outcomes, which included length and quality of life statistics. Hamilton was also the best in health factors, including health behaviors, clinical care access, social and economic factors, and physical environment.
Fayette County in east central Indiana was dead last in the state. It was 92nd for health outcomes and 85th for health factors. Willems Van Dijk said Fayette County was ranked poorly across nearly all factors.
“Particularly when we look at social and economic factors, higher rates of children in poverty, higher rates of injury death which can include things like drug overdoses,” she said of Fayette County.
Neighboring Franklin County fared much better than Fayette. Franklin County ranked ninth in Indiana for health outcomes and 19th for health factors.
Also locally, Ohio County ranked 20th for health outcomes and 30th for health factors. Dearborn County was 22nd and 31st. Ripley County placed 35th and 43rd.
Switzerland County has work to be done, ranking near the bottom of the state’s 92 counties, coming in 83rd for health outcomes and 80th for health factors.
The rate of residents without health insurance can range between six and 26 percent. The study found that Indiana’s rate for children in poverty is slightly lower than the rest of the nation at 19 percent, but there’s a large range per county, from five percent up to 29 percent.
The disparity between counties is an example of how some communities and populations are being left behind, said Dr. Richard Besser, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
“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,” said Besser.
Complete rankings and more information can be found at www.CountyHealthRankings.org.