MAYVILLE, N.Y.: – Among 62 New York State counties, Chautauqua ranks 54 in the category of Health Outcomes and 48 in the category of Health Factors, according to a report released this week by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. These measures show some improvement from last year's rankings.
“We are happy to see some improvement and know that there is still a great deal of work to be done,” said Christine Schuyler, County’s Director of Health and Human Services. "This data emphasizes that promoting healthy communities requires that we address the social determinants of health, such as transportation, education, access to healthy food and exercise, behavior choices, and economic opportunities. Many collaborative efforts to help us positively impact the health and welfare of all are underway through our communities. Along with that, individuals need to take responsibility for their own health and well-being and that of their loved ones – this includes making good lifestyle and behavior choices.”
The Health Outcomes category focuses on mortality (death) and morbidity (illness) and looks at factors such as premature death, number of poor physical and mental health days, and occurrence of low birth weight babies. Here, the County maintained its ranking (57). A higher rate of premature death was seen compared to many other counties in New York State (ranking 50). Chautauqua County improved in “length of life” category ranking (50), which looks at the years of potential life lost rate (deaths prior to age 75). Schuyler cautions that she fears that we’ll see an increase over the next few years in potential years of life lost due to opioid overdose deaths. Deaths to younger people impact the rate greater than deaths of older people, such as 65 year olds who have heart attacks.
The Health Factors category consists of subcategories including health behaviors (smoking, obesity, alcohol intake, etc.), clinical care, social and economic factors (unemployment, education, crime, etc.), and the physical environment (built environment and quality of environment).
In Health Behaviors, data from this year’s rankings, which ranges in time span, showed less favorable numbers in the areas of percent of adults who smoke, percentage of adults who excessively drink alcohol, percent of driving deaths involving alcohol, and sexually transmitted infection rate (Chlamydia).
Ranked 19 out of the 62 counties, Clinical Care was Chautauqua County's best category. Contributing to this measure were a lower percentage of individuals uninsured; improvements in patient to provider ratios in primary care, dental and mental health; fewer preventable hospital stays; and slight increases in screenings of diabetic Medicare enrollees and mammography screenings.
Under Social and Economic Factors, improvements over last year’s rankings were seen in the fields of high school graduation rate, unemployment, and increased social associations. Rankings worsened in areas of percentage of children in single-parent households, violent crime rate, and injury deaths. Areas where Chautauqua County is noticeably ranked lower than the state were percentage of individuals who had “some college,” injury death rates, and the percentage of children living in poverty.
Chautauqua County's biggest improvement was seen in Physical Environment. Number 40 out of the 62 counties, this ranking was affected most by a decrease in the number of days with high levels of particulate matter.
As a snapshot of Chautauqua County, the latest report says:
- 18% of adults smoke, compared to 15% statewide.
- 30% of adults are obese, compared to 25% statewide.
- Premature death (measured as years of potential life lost before age 75 per 100,000 population) - 6,800 years compared to 5,300 years statewide.
- 69% of adults have access to exercise opportunities, compared to 91% statewide.
- 36% of alcohol impaired driving deaths, compared to 17% statewide.
- 38% of children are raised in a single-parent household, compared to 35% statewide.
- 28% of children live in poverty, compared to 22% statewide.
- 81% of people drive to work alone, compared to 53% statewide.
- 19% of people who drive alone have a long commute, compared to 36% statewide.
- 9 days with high levels of particulate matter in the air (air pollution), compared to 8.6 days statewide
- 8% uninsured, compared to 10% statewide.
- The ratio of patients to primary care providers was 1,830:1, compared to 1,200:1 statewide.
- The ratio of patients to dentists was 1,790:1, compared to 1,270:1 statewide.
- The ratio of patients to mental health providers was 760:1, compared to 420:1 statewide.
- 68% mammography screening rate, compared to 62% statewide.
- 8.0% of babies are low birthweight, compared to 8.0 % statewide.
- 32 teen births per 1,000 females aged 15-19, compared to 21 statewide.
- 378.7 cases of Chlamydia (sexually transmitted disease) per 100,000 population, compared to 502.8 statewide.
- 83% graduate from high school, compared to 79% statewide.
- 6.1% unemployment rate, compared to 5.3% statewide.
- 232 violent crime rate per 100,000 population, compared to 394 statewide.
- 59 injury death rate per 100,000 population, compared to 44 statewide.
While the County Health Rankings provide a system to compare population health among counties at the state level and nationwide, the Chautauqua County Community Health Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan update for 2016-2018 remain better resources to obtain and evaluate health data and health issues at a local level. These are available online at: www.co.chautauqua.ny.us . The online County Health Rankings report is available at www.countyhealthrankings.org.