ZMCHD releases county health rankings

Georgia Reed
March 15, 2018

According to the 2018 Rankings, the five counties in the poorest health, starting with least healthy, are the cities of Petersburg, Martinsville, Emporia, Galax and Covington. Because even the counties at the top of the list, he said, have gaps in health outcomes.

Hardscrabble and sparsely populated Cumberland County ranked at the bottom, as it has in previous reports.

Putnam County ranked fifth for health outcomes and fourth for health factors this year.

"When you're talking about the health rankings, it's important to know that the social determinants of health, including employment and housing, also have an impact", said Dr. Alton Hart, director of the Crater Health District, which includes Petersburg.

"The social and economic factors contribute 40 percent to the overall measure, which means those are the places we need to dig deeper because they have the greatest influence on our health outcomes", Jerome said.

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The Buncombe County Family Justice Center (FJC) is an example of a community partnership that has been instrumental in The Rankings. The percentage of driving deaths involving alcohol had been trending downward, from 33 percent in 2014 to 24 percent past year, but that number rose to 30 percent in the most recent report. Sonoma County's graduation rates have improved since 2011, when the health ranking was first launched. Beaufort County's rate is 19 percent.

St. Johns County residents are the healthiest in Florida, according to annual rankings released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Low birth-weight is a key indicator of overall health status in communities.

The Wisconsin State Report reveals that in Wisconsin, 16 percent of children live in poverty, compared to the US rate of 20 percent.

The foundation examines health outcomes, access to medical care and socioeconomic factors such as child poverty rates and single-parent households.

"I would say that kind of movement of one or two spots out of 72 spots over the course of the year is probably not measuring something really drastically different", Jerome said. Broken down by race, though, the numbers show 27 percent of black children, 30 percent of Hispanic children and 11 percent of white children live in poverty in Douglas County. "We must remember, these changes can take time, and small successes can yield big results".

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