How Healthy Are Our Communities? Rankings Point to Problems in Local Counties

patient-doctorJEFFERSON COUNTY, Pa. (EYT) – Out of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania, the four primary counties covered by Explore Your Town ranked near the bottom in the comparisons recently provided in a national report on county health rankings.

Forest County “leads” with an overall rank of 40, followed by Venango County at 41, Clarion County at 50, and Jefferson County at 56.  The annual study is by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

“We believe America can become a nation where getting healthy, staying healthy, and making sure our children grow up healthy are top priorities,” states the introduction to the report at  “We have a vision of an America where we all strive together to build a national Culture of Health that enables all in our diverse society to lead healthy lives, now and for generations to come.”

Many different factors are measured in the report, including physical conditions, economic opportunities.  A couple of areas show some of the ranges and similarities within the local counties.  The number of Children in Poverty is reported at 19 percent in Clarion, 41 percent in Forest, 21 percent in Jefferson, and 25 percent in Venango. The number of Single Parent Households includes 29 percent in Clarion, 31 percent in Forest, 30 percent in Jefferson, and 37 percent in Venango.

Individual categories include a number of measurements.

Length of Life looks at the number of premature death.

Quality of Life includes poor or fair health, poor physical health days, poor mental health days, and low birth weight.

Health Behaviors includes adult smoking, adult obesity, food environment index, physical inactivity, access to exercise opportunities, excessive drinking, alcohol-impaired riving deaths, sexually transmitted infections, and teen births.

Clinical Care includes percentage of uninsured, primary care physicians, dentists, mental health providers, preventable hospital stays, diabetic monitoring, and mammography screening.

Social and Economic Factors include high school graduate, some college, unemployment, children in poverty, income inequality, children in single-parent households, social associations, violent crime, and injury deaths.

Physical Environment includes air pollution and particulate matter, drinking water violations, severe housing problems, driving alone to work, and long commute driving alone.

Individual rankings for counties include:

Clarion County: Overall Rank-50; Length of Life-46; Quality of Life-49; Health Factors-36, Health Behaviors-55; Clinical Care-25; Social and Economic Factors-25; Physical Environment-58.

Forest County: Overall Rank-40; Length of Life-50; Quality of Life-49; Health Factors-65, Health Behaviors-61; Clinical Care-65; Social and Economic Factors-66; Physical Environment-14.

Jefferson County: Overall Rank-56; Length of Life-42; Quality of Life-56; Health Factors-51, Health Behaviors-58; Clinical Care-61; Social and Economic Factors-28; Physical Environment-44.

Venango County: Overall Rank-41; Length of Life-48; Quality of Life-31; Health Factors-41, Health Behaviors-46; Clinical Care-48; Social and Economic Factors-33; Physical Environment-47.

Click here for the full report.

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