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SALEM COMMUNITY HOSPITAL..Just how healthy is Columbiana County?

April 15, 2012
Salem News

A new report developed by the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, compares more than 3,000 counties across the U.S. by how healthy their residents are and how long they live.

The 2012 "County Health Rankings & Roadmap" highlights the most and least healthy counties in every state, based on key factors that influence health, such as income levels, and access to healthy foods or medical care.

Published online at, the report uses standardized measurement tools to determine how healthy people are based on the categories of Health Outcomes and Health Factors. Health Outcomes measure how long people live and how healthy residents say they feel. Health Factors represent what types of influences impact people's health, and include weighted scores for behavioral, clinical, social and economic, and environmental factors. This year's report also includes several new measures, such as how many fast food restaurants are in a county and the levels of physical inactivity among residents.

Using the latest publically-available data for each county, the report reflects what is known about the behaviors that make people sick or healthy, and confirms the important role that external factors such as education, unemployment, income and the environment play in how healthy people are and how long they live.

2012 Columbiana County Rankings

Among Ohio's 88 counties, Columbiana County ranks No. 50 for Health Outcomes, according to the 2012 County Health Rankings. Last year, Columbiana County ranked No. 41. Health Outcomes are a measure used to show how long people live (mortality) and how healthy residents said they feel (morbidity). The data includes premature deaths, low birth weights, poor or fair health, poor physical health days and poor mental health days.

Under the mortality measure, Columbiana County dropped from a ranking of No. 39 in 2011, to a ranking of No. 52 among Ohio's 88 counties. Opportunities for improvement are needed to reduce premature deaths, which are defined as years of life lost before age 75, per 100,000 of the population. Columbiana County's rate of 7,805 premature deaths per 100,000 is higher than the state's rate of 7,513.

Columbiana County also dropped slightly in the morbidity measure of how healthy residents said they feel, with a 2012 ranking of 49th compared to 45th in 2011. Indicators that need improvement focus on how people feel in terms of poor health. For example,18 percent of Columbiana County residents reported themselves to be in poor or fair health, compared to 15 percent of Ohioans. County residents also reported a higher than average number of physically unhealthy days at 4.6 days out of the past 30 days, compared to the state average of 3.6 days.

Under the Health Factors category, Columbiana County improved to No. 63 in 2012, compared to a bottom ranking of No. 76 in 2011. Health Factors are a measure of health behaviors, availability of medical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment. Social and economic factors in the 2012 survey account for 40 percent of each county's score, and weigh more heavily than health behaviors and clinical care.

Based on the 2012 results, individual health factors that need continued attention include obesity (36 percent of Columbiana County adults have a body mass index of 30 or more as compared to the Ohio average of 30 percent ), and lack of physical activity, with 29 percent of Columbiana County adults aged 20+ reporting no leisure time physical activity compared to 27 percent of Ohioans.

Columbiana County (CC) also had lower 2012 rankings than state averages regarding:

- Higher motor vehicle fatalities: 17 Motor vehicle crash deaths per 100,000 CC residents as compared to 12 in Ohio.

- Lack of access to primary care physicians: A ratio of 1 primary care physician per 1,544 CC residents as compared to 1 primary care physician per 859 Ohio residents.

- Higher preventable hospital stays: 98 Preventable hospital stays per 1,000 CC Medicare enrollees, based on the hospitalization rate for ambulatory-care sensitive conditions, versus 49 in Ohio.

- More children in poverty: 27 percent of CC children are living in poverty compared to 23 percent in Ohio.

- Less higher education: 45 percent of CC adults have had some college versus 60 percent of Ohioans.

- Higher rates of diabetes: 13 percent of CC residents have diabetes versus 11 percent of Ohioans.

- Less access to recreational facilities: 7 CC recreational facilities are available per 100,000 residents, compared to 10 in Ohio.

Areas where Columbiana County performed better than the state included:

- Slightly lower smoking rates: 20 percent of CC adults smoke versus 22 percent in Ohio.

- Lower STIs: There are 164 sexually transmitted chlamydia infections per 100,000 CC residents versus 420 in Ohio.

- Higher graduation rates: 87 percent CC teens graduate from high school versus 78 percent in Ohio.

- Less violent crime: There are 59 incidents of violent crime per 100,000 CC residents versus 360 in Ohio.

"The County Health Rankings show us that much of what influences our health happens outside of the doctor's office. In fact, where we live, learn, work and play has a big role in determining how healthy we are and how long we live," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "The good news is that businesses, health care providers, government, consumers and community leaders are joining forces across the nation to change some of the gaps that the Rankings highlight."

In Columbiana County, several area community organizations are collaborating on a community health needs assessment to gather information about the heath priorities and needs of people living in Columbiana County and the surrounding area. The purpose of the project is to identify current health problems or issues facing the community and make recommendations for future health planning. Participating organizations in the Columbiana County Health Needs Assessment project include the: Coordinated Action for School Health (CASH) Coalition, Columbiana County Health Department, Columbiana County Jobs and Family Services, Community Action Agency of Columbiana County, East Liverpool City Health Department, East Liverpool City Hospital, Family and Children First Council, Kent State University, Mental Health and Recovery Services Board, Salem City Health Department, Salem Community Hospital and WIC.



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