Clay Health gets passing grade compared to rest of state

By Nick Blank
Posted 3/20/19

CLAY COUNTY – Despite a few slip, Clay County still performed well in the Top 20 in almost every category in the newly-released County Health Rankings and below state averages.

Clay fell from …

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Clay Health gets passing grade compared to rest of state

Posted

CLAY COUNTY – Despite a few slip, Clay County still performed well in the Top 20 in almost every category in the newly-released County Health Rankings and below state averages.

Clay fell from 13th to 16th overall, while St. Johns County retained the top spot.

In the 10th year of the study, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin compiled and detailed the health outcomes and factors in every county in the country. Social and economic factors, physical environment, health behaviors and clinical care data establish the health factors rankings. Length and quality of life determine the health outcomes rankings.

Clay’s health outcomes decreased, although health factors jumped one spot from last year from 14th to 13th. The County Health rankings advises some data not to be compared with prior years.

Within the two main categories are several subcategories. Under health outcomes, Clay’s quality of life dropped two places from 11th to 13th and length of life fell from 18th to 21st. Babies born in Clay with a low birthweight were one percent below the state average, and Clay residents with poor or fair health came in three percent below state averages.

For health behaviors, where Clay ranked 35th overall, adult smoking in Clay County was three percent higher than the state average. Adult obesity was at 31 percent, four percent higher than the state. Clay also had higher than state averages in excessive drinking and driving-impaired driving deaths.

There are plenty of caveats with the rankings, which serve as an annual sketch of the county’s health situation. For example, a subcategory called, “Driving to work alone” contributes to the physical environment category.

Community Health Advocate Candace Osteen of QuitDoc Foundation said the adult smoking category largely doesn’t account for e-cigarettes and people and reporting agencies may not consider the products to have similar effects to the real thing.

The rankings indicated a dearth of mental health care in Clay County compared to the state. There are about 1,180 residents per mental health care provider while the state average is about 670-to-1. Also, in the clinical care rankings, in which Clay ranked 20th, an estimated 11-percent of residents were uninsured and there were 4,704 preventable hospital stays, both better than the state figures.

Clay’s highest ranking, sixth, was social and economic factors. Violent crime was far lower than state averages and unemployment, 3.8 percent, was 0.4 percent lower than the state figures. According to the study, about 13 percent of children were in poverty and about 30-percent lived in single-family households, also below the state.

For more information and the full rankings, search “Clay County” at countyhealthrankings.org.

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