Orleans, Genesee show improvement in health rankings report
Both counties still high in obesity, adult smoking
Press Release, Genesee & Orleans County Health Departments
According to the 2022 County Health Rankings, released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI), Genesee and Orleans Counties rank 38th and 54th respectively in overall Health Outcomes. The Rankings are available at www.countyhealthrankings.org.
“As Chief Health Strategists, we use the County Health Rankings to help us identify factors that are important for residents to live long and healthy lives and understand how we compare to other counties in the state. With this knowledge, we work collaboratively with our partners to improve the health of our community,” stated Paul Pettit, Director of the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). “The county with the lowest score (best health) gets a rank of #1 for that state and the county with the highest score (worst health) is assigned a rank corresponding to the number of total counties ranked in each state. New York State has 62 counties.”
The rankings are broken into to two main categories: Health Outcomes, which include length of life and quality of life, and Health Factors which include health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment.
The 2022 County Health Rankings findings are:
- Genesee County ranked 38 in Health Outcomes and 16 in Health Factors in 2022 as compared to 43 out of 62 counties for Health Outcomes in 2021, a decrease in rank as compared to 2022 and 28 in Health Factors a decrease from 2021.
- Orleans County ranked 54 in Health Outcomes and 55 in Health Factors in 2022 as compared to 60 in Health Outcomes in 2021, a decrease in rank as compared to 2022 and 53 in Health Factors an increase in rank from 2021.
“The County Health Rankings show us that where people live plays a key role in how long and how well they live,” stated Pettit. “The Rankings allow local leaders to clearly see and prioritize the challenges they face — whether it’s rising premature death rates or the growing drug overdose epidemic — so they can bring community leaders and residents together to find solutions.”
According to the 2022 Rankings, the five healthiest counties in New York State starting with most healthy are Putnam, followed by Tompkins, Saratoga, Nassau and New York. The five counties in the poorest health, starting with least healthy are Bronx, Sullivan, Cattaraugus, Montgomery and Chemung.
“The County Health Rankings show how Genesee and Orleans Counties rank on factors that influence its overall health ranking,” said Pettit. “For example, Genesee County had a decrease in preventable hospital stays from 4,748 in 2021 to 3,354 in 2022. Genesee County also had a decrease in adults smoking from 23% in 2021 to 19% in 2022. Orleans County had a decrease in the percentage of adults who smoked from 25% in 2021 to 21% in 2022. Additionally, Orleans County had a decrease in the percentage of adult obesity from 37% to 32%.”
Even with the above mentioned positive trends, both counties continue to have challenge areas and are still struggling with health factors specifically with obesity (Genesee – 33% / Orleans – 32%), adult smoking (Genesee – 19% / Orleans – 21%), and local access to clinical care for primary care physicians, dentists and mental health providers. Although the numbers for adult smoking did decrease for both counties, we are still above the top U.S Performers at 15% and New York State at 13%.
The Rankings have become an important tool for communities that want to improve health for all. Working collaboratively with community partners in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties (GOW), Genesee and Orleans counties are currently working on the GOW 2022-2024 Community Health Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan to determine the New York State Prevention Agenda priorities to focus on over the next three years.
We analyze the Rankings along with New York State data and community input from the Community Health Assessment survey and Community Conversations with various community groups and county residents. If you have not completed a survey you can access the English survey online here or the Spanish survey online here.