A national look at health trends shows Adams County the worst in Ohio for the second year in a row.
An annual health rankings report released last week by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps shows that Adams County remains at the bottom of the list for counties in Ohio for outcomes and factors for residents.
The study conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute looks at health factors beyond medical care, such as housing, education, jobs, and access to healthy foods.
In terms of access to those factors, Adams was ranked 87th out of 88 counties in Ohio in 2017. Factors that contributed to shifting were a 2% increase in adult smoking, a 1% increase in adult obesity, .01% increase income equality, a 2% increase in excessive drinking, and a 2% increase in severe housing problems. The largest shift from 2017 was the decrease in access to exercise opportunities. In 2017, Adams County ranked 52%, 2018 brought a 12% decrease.
The 2019 report shows that Adams County health ranking is improving in some areas and worsening in others.
The report found the following from compared to the 2018 health ranking: Alcohol-impaired driving deaths increased by 1%; drivers who have a long commute to increased by 1%; the number of adults that are considered obese increased by 1%; and students graduating from high school decreased by 1%.
The report also found that childhood poverty decreased by 2%, children in a single-parent home decreased by 2%, Adults without medical insurance decreased by 1%, and teen birth decreased by 1%.
The study compares counties within states, and results show that where you live influences how well and how long you live, according to researchers.
“Our homes are inextricably tied to our health,” said Dr. Richard Besser, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in a press release that accompanied the data.
“It’s unacceptable that so many individuals and families face barriers to health because of what they have to spend on housing. This leaves them with fewer dollars to keep their families healthy.”
First measured in 2011, Adams County received an 82 out of 88 rankings. In 2012 Adams County ranked at 83, 2014 at 86, 2015 at 87, 2016 at 87, and 2017 at 87
Neighboring Brown County ranked healthiest within the surrounding areas, in southern Ohio. Brown County is ranked 73, Highland, 79, Lawrence, 83, Scioto, 84 Pike, 87.