Locally, for health outcomes
"When you have two communities that are next to each other," Devine says, "One relatively rural and one a city, you can see wide disparities in some of the measurements. That can lead to differences in the rankings."
He says the report is accurate and helpful to the local health department. It measures areas according to mortality, employment, obesity, smoking, and low birth rate, among other factors.
"We have more work to
do," Devine says. "We'll always have more work to do. I am
disappointed that obesity numbers seem to be stable, or even rising some. I'd
love to see them fall. I am also concerned about cigarette smoking. Cigarette
smoking is persisting in
Devine says locally, teen pregnancy and infant mortality are big issues the community is working to combat.
"We see listed low birth-weight babies," Devine says." Low birth-weight babies at greater risk for infant mortality, greater risk for respiratory problems later in life, at greater risk for other medical problems. Here in the community, we have a coalition between the Health Department, Later Baby and Clean, working on teen pregnancy issues."
Local health department officials
say a stronger economy in the northern counties, closer to
Ultimately, Devine says the report is an eye-opener for local communities about the work that needs to be done. The study was conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
You can read the report and do county-by-county health comparison by clicking here.