Dallas County ranks near bottom in health

Published 11:53 pm Tuesday, March 20, 2018

By: Adam Dodson

Statewide health numbers at the county level have been released, and the statistics show Dallas County has room for improvement.

The rankings come from a combination of organizations: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the largest health-only philanthropy in the country; The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, which takes health data to create evidence-based solutions; and countyhealthrankings.org, where the rankings are posted.

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Based on the numbers provided, Dallas County ranks 61 out of the 67 counties in health outcomes and is ranked 63rd in health factors, which are influenced by a variety of different measurements.

For example, one of the biggest factors contributing towards Dallas County’s lower health rankings is due to their quality of life, which is ranked at 59 out of the counties.

Furthermore, 42 percent of the Dallas County population is listed as obese, and 22 percent of the population participates in smoking, which both have a significant negative effect on their health behaviors ranking, which is listed at 62nd.

However, the numbers also show that while Dallas County may be towards the bottom of the list in most categories, the numbers are mostly headed in the right direction. Multiple categories in the study have subsections showing the success of Dallas County in improving their current situation from 2017 to 2018.

To improve their quality of life or overall health rankings, a county would need to improve in multiple areas, rather than just one. According to the statistics provided, Dallas County has shown improvements in the quality of their air, their high-school graduation rate, physical activity, rate of sexually-transmitted infections and preventable hospital days, among others.

These improvements cover a wide array of categories, but still contribute to the overall health rating.

Additionally, not all of the overall categorical scores were in the high-50s and 60s. In clinical care, Dallas County ranked 27th, with one primary care physician per 1,420 people and less than twelve percent of the population uninsured.

Of all the counties listed, Wilcox County came in 67th, with Greene, Sumter, Lowndes and Perry County rounding out the five lowest scores.

Shelby, Madison, Baldwin, Limestone and Lee Counties comprised the top five in health rankings. The county health ratings number date back to 2011. For more information about the county health numbers, visit their website at www.countyhealthrankings.org.