Prevent, Promote, and Protect your Health with the Lake County General Health District
(440) 350-2543
5966 Heisley Rd
Mentor, Ohio 44060
March 16, 2018
Off

LAKE COUNTY CONTINUES TO RANK HIGH IN 2018 COUNTY HEALTH RANKINGS

March 16, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                              CONTACT: Ron H. Graham, (440) 350-2543

March 16, 2018                                                                                                                         LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICT

LAKE COUNTY CONTINUES TO RANK HIGH IN 2018 COUNTY HEALTH RANKINGS

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, has just released the seventh year of County Health Rankings, a comprehensive report that ranks the overall health of nearly every county across all 50 states, by way of a standardized methodology to measure (1) health policies and programs, (2) health factors, and (3) health outcomes. Lake County General Health District (LCGHD) is pleased to announce that Lake County continues to be in the top tier of ranked Ohio counties, with respect to both health outcomes and health factors.

This year’s rankings continue to illustrate that much of health is affected outside of the doctor’s office. Lake County rose from 23rd (2017) to 13th (2018) for health outcomes, and from 10th (2017) to 9th (2018) for health factors. LCGHD Health Commissioner Ron H. Graham commented, “As an agency working to promote the health of our community, we are excited to see this increased ranking, though we interpret the data with caution. Simply put, this ranking is often influenced by the addition of new measures, or a change in how the data is collected, from year-to-year”. Elaborating further on this process, Commissioner Graham went on to say “for instance, the 2018 County Health Rankings utilized two new years of premature death and low birthweight data, the addition of which increases the potential for change in health outcome rankings from the previous year. Additionally, County Health Rankings changed what data was used to measure the access to exercise opportunities and food environment index, which resulted in a ranking change”.

Currently, Lake County is experiencing an increase in premature death, years of productive life lost, total number of chlamydia cases, the percentage of children in poverty, violent crimes, and a decrease in the number of women receiving mammography screenings. Commissioner Graham commented that “the data is still relatively old, and the recent increase in opioid-related overdose deaths in the last few years will dramatically impact premature death and years of productive life lost. A higher Community Health Ranking should theoretically be followed by improved community health, but nothing can replace real-time data when working to prevent chronic disease, and many of the health measures used to determine these rankings”.

Despite the following concerns, there are a number of positive Lake County trends to report, including a reduction in airborne particular matter, decreased preventable hospital stays, and a decrease in the number of uninsured individuals. “These trends, much alike anything intended to improve community health, require partnerships, time, and commitment…” noted Graham, and “…it will take all of us working together toward a shared goal to make a noticeable impact here in Lake County. Collaboration and input is not reserved for public health and healthcare, but should also include the expertise of local business, education, and government, in addition to Lake County community members and parents”.

Using the Rankings Data

The County Health Rankings provide a snapshot of a community’s health and a starting point for investigating and discussing ways to improve health. This guide will help you find and understand the data – in this site and beyond – as you begin to assess your needs and resources, and focus on what’s important. The guide includes seven sections:

  • Communities Using the Rankings Data introduces the many ways communities are using the Rankings.
  • Exploring the Data helps you get the most out of the Rankings and the wealth of underlying data.
  • Making Use of Your Snapshot helps you navigate the information in your county’s snapshot and identify key areas where you may wish to look for additional data.
  • Digging Deeper helps you think through what other information would help you further understand the health of your community.
  • Broadening Your View helps you widen your focus beyond the specific measures included in the Rankings.
  • Visualizing the Data provides links to resources to help you visualize where the assets and weaknesses are in your community.
  • Finding More Data directs you to additional national and state data sources.

 

For more information on Lake County General Health District, visit our website at www.lcghd.org.

###

Marianne Rusnak
About the Author