“One of the things that we talk about in class is how socioeconomic factors make an impact on health decisions and wellness,” said Shea. “Better food choices, levels of education and health care options are things that influence people’s decision making and overall health status.”
The County Health Rankings measure the health of nearly every county in the nation and help counties understand what influences how healthy residents are and how long they will live. The data is compiled collaboratively by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The rankings look at a variety of measures that affect health, such as high school graduation rates, access to healthy foods, rates of smoking, obesity, and teen births.
Fairfield County ranked 15th out of Ohio’s 88 counties in the Health Outcome Rankings which examines length and quality of life. Many neighboring counties, especially in the southern and southeastern part of the state, did not fare as well.
“Geographically, you don’t think we’re that far away from some of the counties in Southern Ohio that are bottom of the list,” said Shea. “But according to these rankings, they are worlds apart.”
The study also published a Health Factors rank for each county. The ranking was based on weighted scores for health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and the physical environment. Fairfield County came in at number 12 in the state, once again scoring far better than many of the surrounding counties.
“This information really fits into the Intro to Public Health class I teach,” said Shea. “It shows that there are so many factors that impact health in a community. This will certainly support many of the discussion points that we cover in this course and others.”