Allen County near top third of the state in health rankings report

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Press release from the Fort Wayne-Allen County Health Department:

Allen County near top third of the state in health rankings report
Results of new study a “call to action” for community

(February 17, 2010) – Allen County ranked 33 out of 92 counties in the state for health, according to a new report released today by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The County Health Rankings are the first to rank the overall health of the counties in all 50 states – more than 3,000 total – by using a standard formula to measure how healthy people are and how long they live.

“One of the first steps we must take as a community is to come together to talk about what this report means for us,” said Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan. “This is just a broad snapshot of our community health.

“If you look at all the measures in the report, it becomes very obvious there are many different players in the overall public health in Allen County. The health of our residents is not simply a function of the public and private healthcare system, but rather reflects the lifestyle of the individual, the social, educational and economic environment of the community, and the policies and vision of the public officials who lead.”

Allen County ranked 33 in health outcomes and 39 in health factors, according to the report.

Researchers used five measures to assess the level of overall health or “health outcomes” for Indiana by county: the rate of people dying before age 75, the percent of people who report being in fair or poor health, the number of days people report being in poor physical and poor mental health, and the rate of low birthweight infants.

The report then looks at factors that affect people’s health within four categories: health behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment. Among the many health factors, they looked at adult smoking, access to care, unemployment rate, adult obesity, teen birth rate, access to healthy foods, and motor vehicle death rate.

McMahan says there is much to be celebrated and to be concerned about with the report.

“I see this report as a call to action, to make targeted changes to the physical, social, or economic environments at the root of our health problems,” McMahan says. “As a result, we will create a health and wellness infrastructure that will ensure that our children will grow to be healthy, strong and productive.

One significant bright spot of the report was that Allen County was ranked 10th in clinical care, which is a reflection of the high number of health care providers in the community and the quality of care they provide.

“Given the diversity of our population and the complexity of the health challenges they face, that is a true credit to our health care system in Allen County.”

The online report can be found at The report includes a color-coded map comparing each county’s overall health ranking and a list of all the county rankings.

2010 Indiana County Rankings

Health Outcomes Allen County Ranking

  • Mortality – 29
  • Morbidity – 45
  • Overall – 33

Health Factors Allen County Ranking

Health Behaviors – 53

  • Smoking (adult smoking)
  • Diet and exercise (adult obesity)
  • Alcohol Use (binge drinking, motor vehicle death rate)
  • Risky Sex Behavior (teen births, Chlamydia rate)

Clinical Care – 10

  • Access to care (uninsured adults, primary care providers)
  • Quality of care (preventable hospital stays, diabetic screenings, hospice use)

Social and Economic Factors – 52

  • Education (high school graduation rate, college graduates)
  • Employment (unemployment rates)
  • Income (children in poverty, income inequality)
  • Family and social support (social/emotional support, single parent households)
  • Community safety (violent crime)

Physical environment 88

  • Air quality (unhealthy air due to ozone, particulate matter)
  • Built environment (access to healthy foods, Liquor stores)

Overall – 39

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