According to Cindy Johnson, Director/Health Officer of the Kenosha County Health Department, “The Rankings help us identify factors that directly impact the health of our residents and their ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The Rankings also provide a comparison to other counties in the state. With this knowledge, we can collaborate with our community partners and determine action steps which will improve the health of our residents.”
The Rankings, available at www.countyhealthrankings.org, include a snapshot of each county in Wisconsin. UWPHI researchers used five measures to assess the level of overall health for each county: premature death, 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 Rankings also examine 30 factors that influence health, including rates of childhood poverty, rates of smoking, obesity levels, teen birth rates, access to physicians and dentists, rates of high school graduation and college attendance, access to healthy foods, levels of physical inactivity, and percentages of children living in single parent households.
Among the Health Factors listed in the County Health Rankings report, Kenosha County ranked 55th in health behaviors, 59th in clinical care, 60th in social and economic factors, and 71st for physical environment with an overall ranking of 65th in Wisconsin.
According to Cindy Johnson, many of these health factors are being addressed through the Healthy People Kenosha County 2020 initiative. Healthy People Kenosha County 2020 is a 10-year effort to build a safe and healthy community. The plan works in conjunction with health goals set by the Healthiest Wisconsin 2020 plan and the national Healthy People 2020 plan and is a collaborative effort between many agencies and organizations in Kenosha County. The mission of Healthy People Kenosha County 2020 is to mobilize community resources to address and improve locally identified health priorities.
Several initiatives are currently underway in Kenosha County to address health indicators, including a Multi-Use Trail Committee that has developed a plan for bike and walking paths in the county. New home visitation programs have started which link soon-to-be and new mothers with the resources she needs to deliver a healthy baby. Community partnerships have also been implemented to specifically address low graduation rates and programs for youth. These systems are essential for improving the health outcomes and health factors in Kenosha County.
The County Health Rankings report uses data from several sources, including the National Center for Health Statistics, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The most current data is from 2014, but several sources are from 2010 and even 2009.
For more information, please visit www.countyhealthrankings.org.