Dubois County among state’s healthiest

From local sources

Dubois County continues to rank among the top five healthiest counties in Indiana in 2012, according to a report released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

This marks the third year for the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps list, which rates counties throughout the nation based on “health outcomes” and “health factors.” Outcomes are a measurement of mortality, or the rate of death in residents younger than 75, and morbidity, or physical and mental health-related quality of life. Factors are health-related behaviors including smoking, diet, exercise, alcohol use, frequency and quality of clinical care, education, income, air pollution and community safety.

The report found that only 11 percent of county residents are in poor health and 7 percent of babies are born underweight. About 19 percent of adults smoke and 32 percent are obese. About 14 percent do not have health insurance, but 89 percent receive diabetic screenings and 68 percent have had mammograms.

Dubois County ranked fourth in health outcomes and sixth in health factors.
In 2011, the county ranked second overall in the state.

“We will continue to work with our partners to maintain and improve our high county ranking for years to come,” Donna Oeding, Dubois County Health Department administrative director, said in a news release. “Everyone has a stake in community health. We all need to work together to find solutions. Dubois County continues to be a leader in these types of collaborations.”

The Dubois County Public Health Partnership is one collaboration that helps the county maintain its healthy quality of life, Oeding said. The partnership was formed to assure the health care and public health services that best serve the needs of the population are provided. Members of the partnership include Memorial Hospital, Tri-Cap, Generations, Southern Hills Counseling Center, all county school corporations, Vincennes University Jasper Campus, Kimball International, OFS Brands, Wabash Valley Produce, Jasper Engines & Transmissions, Crisis Connection, Purdue Extension-Dubois County, government officials and the county health department.

Oeding also said the health rankings list is important because it prepares local health departments for achieving national public health accreditation.

“We have used a portion of this data to help develop the community health assessment, which was recently completed in collaboration with Memorial Hospital,” she said.  

Public health accreditation is a national program for state, local, territorial and tribal public health departments. The goal of the accreditation program is to improve and protect the health of every community by advancing the quality and performance of public health departments.

The report found Hamilton County to be the healthiest in the state for the third consecutive year. Completing the top 10 are Boone, LaGrange, Hendricks, Brown, Putnam, Wells, Dekalb and Adams counties.  Pike County ranked 91st out of 92 counties and Spencer County ranked 31st.

The county with the poorest health outcomes for the third consecutive year was Scott. Joining it and Pike in the bottom 10 counties were Starke, Sullivan, Fayette, Switzerland, Jennings, Delaware, Lake and Crawford counties.

The report can be found online at www.countyhealthrankings.org.

Contact The Herald at news@dcherald.com.

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