How healthy is Valley? Not very, study says

Staff report


Though part of the Mahoning Valley has gotten a little bit more healthy over the past year, it still ranks in the bottom 25 percent of all 88 counties in the state in overall strong health outcomes, according to a study released last week.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute ranked Mahoning County the 68th healthiest county in Ohio, improving from 71st most healthy in 2017.

Trumbull County, however, ranks 64th this year, down slightly from 61st in 2017.

Falling even farther behind over the past 12 months is Columbiana County, which dropped from 55th place in overall health outcomes IN 2017 to 63rd place in 2018.

The report looks at health indicators including premature death, smoking, inactivity, clinical-care access and multiple socioeconomic factors. Rankings are based on a conceptual model that includes health outcomes and health factors.

The report compares Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties in a wide variety of categories such as health behaviors.

For instance, in all three counties in 2018, 22 percent of the adult population smoked; while in Mahoning County in 2018 30 percent of the adult population was obese compared with 33 percent in Trumbull and 35 percent in Columbiana. In Mahoning County, 16 percent engaged in excessive drinking, slightly better that Trumbull County with 17 percent and 18 percent in Columbiana County.

Under the subject of uninsured, Mahoning and Trumbull counties had 8 percent compared with 9 percent in Columbiana County.

In terms of social and economic factors, Columbiana County came out slightly ahead in percentage of high-school graduates with 86 percent compared with 85 percent and 82 percent in Trumbull and Mahoning counties respectively. Unemployment rates were similar with 6.3 percent in Mahoning, 6.7 percent in Trumbull County and 6.6 percent in Columbiana.

Mahoning and Columbiana were equal with 27 percent of their children in poverty, while Trumbull came in last with 29 percent of its children living in poverty.

The most healthy county in the state, according to the survey is Delaware County near Columbus. Ranked No. 2 among the 88 counties is nearby Geauga County in Northeast Ohio.

The report bills itself as a call to action for leaders and community change makers to take these national findings, dig into local data to better understand the local assets and challenges, and implement strategies to address both place and racial gaps creating communities where everyone has a fair and just chance to lead the healthiest life possible.

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