On March 19, 2019, the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released their 10th annual County Health Rankings Report. Dare County placed in the top 10 for 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 the percent of low birthweight infants. Dare County ranked 7 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 8 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. Dare County when compared to the state of North Carolina has less adult smoking, obesity, alcohol-impared driving deaths, and sexually transmitted infections. Dare County also has an increased ratio of dentists and mental health providers when compared to the state of North Carolina. With a total of 30 health factors being evaluated, examples of other measures include: primary care physicians, air pollution, physical inactivity, and flu vaccinations.
“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 to encourage residents to become empowered to help improve individual and community health,” commented Dr. Sheila Davies, Director of Health and Human Services.
The rankings are a collection of reports from a variety of sources to determine the rankings of counties in every state of the nation. Together, these factors provide an overview of the health of our community, including both our strengths and weaknesses, and demonstrates that where we live matters to our health.
Davies further commented, “We were pleased to see that the data presented in this rankings report, aligns with the data we have been gathering for our 2018 Community Health Assessment, which our Healthy Carolinians of the Outer Banks Partnership has been working on since January of 2018, and will be released to the public during the month of April.”
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 chronic diseases, substance use, mental health, older adult population issues, 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.