PUTNAM COUNTY — Putnam County has once again been recognized as one of the healthiest in the state. For the fourth year in a row the county has been ranked third overall for the health of its residents.

According to the County Health Commissioner Kim Reiman, this success can be attributed to positive social factors. She states, “They look at things called ‘social determinants of health.’ These are the conditions of where you live, work, and play. If people feel good about where they live, work, and play, and they feel safe, and they have good social support from family and friends; they are finding that those individuals lead a healthier lifestyle. That is one of the things that made us good overall.” The collected data demonstrates the truth in this statement. Putnam County is ranked second in the state overall for both social and economic factors, and quality of life factors.

There is, of course, always room for improvement. Putnam County continues to rank poorly in health behaviors such smoking, obesity, and excessive alcohol consumption. Community groups have been formed and tasked with working to address these and other persistent health issues under the current Community Health Improvement Plan, which all counties are required to have.

A new plan is also in the works. Every three years the County Health Department and its partners conduct a community health assessment. This effort began last fall with an extensive health survey mailed to randomly selected households throughout the county. The department also conducted focus groups with different segments of the population, such as teachers, guidance counselors, and parents. The information is currently being compiled and will be presented to the community on Tuesday, April 25, at the Putnam County Library. Work will then continue during the summer and fall to turn the findings into a new plan that will be in place for the county from 2018 - 2021.

Working together to assess our collective health. Taking those findings and turning them into a plan of action. Collaborating with stakeholders to implement the plan in an effort to continue the success of the past four years. This is how Putnam County will create an even better results, and healthier residents.