File photo by Tom Rivers: Some kids shoot baskets on a warm March 24, 2015 at the basketball courts in Lyndonville.
Orleans County ranks 48th in overall health outcomes out of 62 counties in New York.
The county had been gradually moving up in the county rankings, from 52nd in 2013, to 49th in 2014, to 47th in 2015 and then 44th last year.
The report for “Health Outcomes” measures rates of premature death, low-birthweight babies and days of poor physical and mental health, as well as percentages of residents considered in poor or fair health (14 percent in Orleans, which is better than state average of 16 percent).
However, Orleans ranks 58th worst overall for premature death. It is 42nd for quality of life, the two factors that make up the ranking for health outcomes.
Saratoga County was the top-ranked county for health outcomes with the Bronx rated 62nd, the worst.
The County Health Rankings are compiled by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The County Health Rankings are a snapshot of the health of each county. The rankings for New York State are out of the 62 counties. There are five main categories and the factors that make up each category are measured and ranked.
Health Outcomes measures “Today’s Health” and includes length of life, premature death, sickness, mental health and low birth weight.
• “Health Factors” looks at tomorrow’s health and includes health behaviors: adult smoking, adult obesity, food environment index, physical inactivity, access to exercise opportunities, excessive drinking, alcohol-impaired driving deaths, sexually transmitted disease and teen births.
Orleans ranked 55th in Health Factors and exceeded state averages for adult smoking (18 percent vs. 15 percent), adult obesity (29 percent vs. 25 percent), excessive drinking (19 percent vs. 18 percent), and teen births (29 per 1,000 females ages 15 to 19, compared to 21 in NY).
• “Clinical Care” considers uninsured, primary care physicians, dentists, mental health providers, preventable hospital stays, diabetic monitoring, and mammography screening.
Orleans rated 60th in this category, nearly the worst in the state despite having a better rate on uninsured, 9 percent, versus 10 percent state-wide. Orleans does poorly in the report with 1 primary physician for every 10,500 people, compared to 1,200:1 statewide, and one dentist for every 4,620 people, compared to 1,270:1 in the state.
Orleans also has 1 mental health provider for every 2,190 people, compared to a 420:1 ratio in the state.
• “Social and Economic Factors” includes high school graduation, some college, unemployment, children in poverty, social associations, children in single-parent households, violent crime and injury deaths.
Orleans ranked 51st. Its unemployment rate, 6.5 percent, topped the state average of 5.3 percent. The county has 23 percent of children in poverty, above the 22 percent rate statewide. There are 39 percent of children in single-family households in Orleans, which tops the 35 percent average statewide.
• Orleans does its best in the category measuring “Physical Environment.” That includes air pollution, drinking water violations, severe housing problems, driving alone to work, and long commute – driving alone.
Orleans is ranked 22nd overall for this category. It didn’t have any drinking water violations and its percentage of residents facing severe housig problems, 15 percent, is better than the state average of 24 percent.
The county exceeds the state average for percentage of people driving alone to work, 83 percent compared to 53 percent statewide.
This year’s Rankings also introduce a new measure focused on young people, those 16 to 24, who are not in school or working. About 4.9 million young people in the U.S. — 1 out of 8 — fall into this category. Rates of youth disconnection are higher in rural counties (21.6 percent), particularly those in the South and West, than in urban ones (13.7 percent).
“Young adults who are not in school or working represent untapped potential in our communities and our nation that we can’t afford to waste,” said Paul Pettit. “Communities addressing issues such as poverty, unemployment, and education can make a difference creating opportunities for all youth and young adults. The County Health Rankings are an important springboard for conversations on how to do just that.”
To see the report on Orleans, click here.
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