Dubois County Ranks As 8th Healthiest In Indiana

Jasper (Local Sources) – Dubois County is ranked as the eighth healthiest county in Indiana according to a new report released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The 2016 County Health Rankings are a collection of 50 reports that reflect the overall health of counties in every state across the country. Annually, counties receive a snapshot of how healthy their residents are by comparing their overall health and the factors that influence their health with other counties in their state. This allows communities to see county-to-county where they are doing well and where they need to improve.

“Health happens where we live, learn, work and play. This report is important because it helps us identify factors that are affecting our residents and understand how we compare to other counties in the state,” said Donna Oeding, Dubois County Health Department Administrative Director. “Our high ranking in this report helps us identify areas where we have succeeded in our county and where we still need to do more. With this knowledge, we can take steps to improve health in Dubois County.”

Dubois County ranked eighth in health outcomes and third in health factors.

The health outcomes ranking is based on measures of mortality and morbidity. The mortality rank, representing length of life, is based on a measure of premature death: the years of potential life lost prior to age 75. The morbidity rank is based on measures that represent health-related quality of life and birth outcomes. Four morbidity measures are combined: self-reported fair or poor health, poor physical health days, poor mental health days, and the percent of births with low birth weight. All of these measures, with the exception of low birth weight, were worse than the 2015 report.

The health factors ranking is based on four factors: health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic, and physical environment factors. In turn, each of these factors is based on several measures. Health behaviors include measures of smoking, diet and exercise, alcohol use, and risky sex behavior. Clinical care includes measures of access to care and quality of care. Social and economic factors include measures of education, employment, income, family and social support, and community safety. The physical environment includes measures of environmental quality and the built environment.

“If you look at all the measures in the report, it becomes very obvious there are many different players in the overall public health in Dubois County,” said Oeding. “We will continue to work with our partners to maintain and improve our high county ranking for years to come. 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.”

Oeding cited the Dubois County Public Health Partnership as an example of this collaboration. This group was formed to assure the healthcare and public health services that best serve the needs of the population are provided.

Another collaboration is Dubois County CARES, a coalition empowering our youth to be alcohol and drug free. There are 13 sector representatives including: youth, parents, business, media, schools, youth serving organizations, law enforcement, religious/fraternal organizations, civic, healthcare, local government, legal and other organizations.

“The County Health Rankings are a valuable resource for our local health departments as we prepare for national public health accreditation,” said Oeding. “We have used a portion of this data to help develop the community health assessment which will be released in the near future.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 online report can be found at www.countyhealthrankings.org.

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