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Harrison in health rankings’ top half

The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program has released the rankings for the state of Indiana, with Harrison County coming in at 38 for health outcomes and 39 for health factors out of Indiana’s 92 counties.
The program takes many variables into account when determining the rankings. According to its website, www.countyhealthrankings.org/indiana, ‘The Rankings are unique in their ability to measure the current overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states. They also look at a variety of measures that affect the future health communities, such as high school graduation rates, access to healthy foods, rates of smoking, obesity and teen births.’
The rankings are broken down into two categories: health outcomes and health factors. Outcomes are ranked based on length of life and quality of life, while factors are ranked based on behaviors, clinical care and social and economic factors.
Harrison County came in the top half of each category in the rankings and finished around the median in most categories. According to the website, the most improved sections are alcohol-impaired driving deaths ‘ dropping 31 percent from the previous year ‘ and air pollution. Areas dropping in the rankings are sexually-transmitted infections and adult obesity, which had been rising steadily during the last 10 years.
‘Most of the county health rankings are factors that we don’t control directly,’ Anthony (Tony) Combs, administrator of the Harrison County Health Dept., said. ‘Things like the number of liquor stores in a geographical area or number of people under the poverty line, etc.’
As a comparison, Floyd County ranked 45 in health outcomes and 25 in health factors. Harrison’s neighboring county to the east improved in areas like clinical care, violent crimes and air pollution. The county dropped in areas like STI’s, adult obesity, physical activity in adults 20 and older and alcohol-impaired driving deaths.
To the west, Crawford County ranked 90 of 92 counties in both health outcomes and factors.
‘We are just lucky that Harrison County is fairly well off financially,’ Combs said. ‘That is the biggest indicator of ‘health’ for this study. Counties that are economically impoverished or more urban are the ones who typically are the least healthy.’
For more information about the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program, visit online at www.countyhealthrankings.org. To find out what actions can be taken to improve health rankings in the county or state, visit www.countyhealthrankings.org/roadmaps/action-center.

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