Dare lands in top ten for County Health Rankings
By: Kelly Nettnin, BS, CSAPC, Communications Specialist
On March 29, 2017, the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released their 7th annual County Health Rankings Report. Dare County placed in the top ten for both health outcomes and health factors.
Health outcomes are today’s health, and are measured by the county’s rate of people dying before age 75, the percent of people who report being in fair or poor health, the number of poor physical health days, the number of poor mental health days, and percent of low birthweight infants. Dare County ranked 6 in health outcomes out of 100 North Carolina counties.
Health factors are tomorrow’s health, and represent what influences the health of a county. Dare County ranked 9 in health factors out of 100 North Carolina counties. The rankings measure and consider health in four categories: health behaviors, clinical care, social & economic factors, and physical environment. This year Dare County boasts a decrease in smoking, obesity, teen births, sexually transmitted infections, drug overdose deaths, physical inactivity, uninsured residents and preventable hospital stays. The rankings also noted an increase in the amount of screening measures for diabetes and breast cancer. Social and economic factors also noted improvements- with an increase of Individuals with a high school degree, and decreases in unemployment, children living in poverty and violent crime. With a total of 30 health factors being evaluated, examples of other measures include: dentists, mental health providers, primary care physicians, air pollution, injury deaths.
“These rankings highlight successes and opportunities that contribute towards our goal of optimal health in Dare County. Our community’s ‘can do’ approach has helped move the needle in a positive direction for a number of health factors. Dare County is fortunate to have countless engaged stakeholders that are aggressively working on a variety of initiatives to address the opportunities noted in this year’s rankings report. The goal of this report is to raise awareness about the health status of our community and encourage residents to become empowered to help improve individual and community health,” commented Dr. Sheila Davies, Health Director.
Opportunities exist for residents to become involved in the initiatives that are underway to improve health in our community. Dare County Task Forces and groups are working hard to address topics such as substance abuse, mental health, obesity and chronic disease, friendly aging, and dementia.The full County Health Rankings can be found at countyhealthrankings.org. For more information on this report or to find out how you can be a part of the local efforts to reach optimal health for Dare County residents, please contact The Dare County Department of Health & Human Services' Communications Specialist, Kelly Nettnin, at 252.475.5036.