Health study has good, bad news for Eau Claire County
St. Johns County ranked third in the state in length of life, first in quality of life, sixth in health behaviors, second in clinical care, first in social and economic factors, and 56th in physical environment.
"You're ranked 85, but the social and economic factors are really, it looks like, the ones to pay the most attention to, besides the adult obesity, which is also connected to social and economic factors", Bennett said.
The data is culled from multiple sources and compares the county to others in the state and to top performers nationwide.
The annual health rankings highlight that good health is influenced by a number of factors beyond medical care including housing, education, jobs and access to healthy foods. The report showed that 17 percent of the county residents had poor to fair health, compared to the 16 percent on the state level. Almost 30 percent of adults are smokers, and 14 percent of the population is uninsured. The adult smoking rate is 29 percent while adult obesity is at 42 percent.
Child poverty and youth disconnection are often linked and early childhood investment, such as preschool and kindergarten programming and childcare subsidies can help establish stability, the report said.
In Fayette and Raleigh counties, 36 percent of adults are obese. In Fayette, the unemployment rate is 8.3 percent.
Under the umbrella of the Partnership for a Healthy Community, it's a long-term collaborative effort to improve the overall health of residents in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. There is one dentist for every 2,350 residents, which is 60 percent higher than state average of patient population per dentist, according to the release.
Large suburban metro counties went from the lowest to the highest rate of premature death due to drug overdose within the past decade.
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While drug overdoses contributed to the early death rate among 15- to 24-year-olds, almost three times as many people in that age group die because of vehicle crashes and firearm-related homicides or suicides.
New public health rankings are disappointing for Hampden County.
McDowell again had the worst ranking in this category, followed by Mingo and Wyoming counties.
Hampden County came in last; 14th out of 14 counties.
Drug overdoses are one reason premature deaths are on the rise across the nation after dropping for years. The report's authors found that 6,787 people ages 15 to 24 died from motor vehicle accidents, 4,140 were firearm homicide victims and 3,727 died from drug overdoses. About 4.9 million young people in the US - 1 out of 8 - fall into this category. In other counties, 95 percent of its population did this.
Youth disconnection is more prevalent among American Indians, black and Hispanic youth, and in rural communities than in urban ones. Nicholas County has a rate of 26 percent; Wyoming County, 25 percent; and Mercer, Fayette and Raleigh, 23 percent.
The organizations behind the study also released "roadmaps" to offer communities resources to improve health.
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