Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Obesity Contributes To Hendry-Glades Poor Health

Low Health Scores For Hendry-Glades Counties - 1 In 3 Obese

LABELLE, FL. -- A new report ranks the health of nearly every county in the nation and shows that much of what affects health occurs outside of the doctor's office in Hendry and Glades county.  Obesity stands out as one contributing factor to low health rankings.

Hendry county ranks 66th out of 67 Florida counties in the study's "Health Factors" with 22% of residents in poor or fair health, and 35% obese. 37% have no health insurance, and Hendry county only has one primary physician for every 2,200 residents, way below national averages for physicians per person.

44% of Hendry children live in households below the Federal poverty level. 42% of children live in a single parent household, say the study, both contributing factors explaining poor health. Hendry has almost double the percentage of fast food restaurants versus national statistics, says the study, with 48% of the county restaurants serving fast foods.

Hendry has a higher violent crime rate than both Florida and U.S. averages.

The study cites Hendry's lack of primary health providers, high number of uninsured, obesity, motor vehicle death rate, excessive drinking, sexually transmitted infections, and high teen birth rates as health behaviors and clinical factors contributing to the county's poor health ratings.

Hendry has a much higher rate of sexually transmitted infections compared to both the U.S. and Florida.

Hendry's low educational graduation rates, high unemployment, children in poverty, and high violent crime rates, and lack access to recreational facilities are cited as further factors.  

Glades county ranks 57th of 67 counties in the state, and factors cited include high premature death rate, 20% in poor or fair health, 35% adult obesity, 31% without health insurance, 29% of children living below poverty levels, 49% in single parent households, low educational graduation rates (64%), lack of access to recreational facilities, and 60% of the county's restaurants are fast food compared to national numbers of only 25%.

Glades has a lower violent crime rate than Florida averages but much higher than U.S. average rates. It's sexually transmitted infection rate is lower than Florida averages, but much higher then U.S. rates.

The ranking reports by the University of Wisconson allow people in more than 3,000 counties and the District of Columbia to compare the overall health of their counties against other counties in their state, and also compare their performance on specific health factors against national benchmarks of top-performing counties.

For the third year, the University  of Wisconsin's County Health Rankings confirm the critical role that factors such as education, jobs, income, and environment play in how healthy people are and how long they live. 

The health statistics look at a variety of measures that affect health such as the rate of people dying before age 75, high school graduation rates, access to healthier foods, air pollution levels, income, and rates of smoking, obesity and teen births. 

The Rankings, based on the latest data available for each county, is the only tool of its kind that measures the overall health of each county in all 50 states on the multiple factors that influence health.

Some highlights of what counties look like nationally:
People are nearly twice as likely to be in fair or poor health in the unhealthiest counties; Unhealthy counties have significantly lower high school graduation rates; Unhealthy counties have more than twice as many children in poverty; Unhealthy counties have much fewer grocery stores or farmer's markets; and Unhealthy counties have much higher rates of unemployment. 

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