PUTNAM COUNTY  — For the second straight year, Putnam County is ranked #2 in Ohio in Health Outcomes according to the County Health Rankings just released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.  The County Health Rankings was developed to provide counties across the country the ability to compare the local health status with others in the state. This is the fifth year for the rankings, which can be found at www.countyhealthrankings.org

According to the Health Outcomes ranking, which measures length of life and quality of life indicators, Putnam County has a low rate of premature death and the quality of life, such as reports of poor or fair health or poor physical and mental health days, is very low.  Also, reports of mothers giving birth to low birthweight babies are lower than the state.  These measures help boost the county in the rankings for health outcomes. Putnam County is also ranked #9 in the state in for overall Health Factors.  This looks at:  Health Behaviors such as smoking, obesity, exercise, alcohol use, sexually transmitted infections, etc.; Clinical Care, with measures such as uninsured population and ratio of county residents to physicians, mental health providers and dentists, mammography rates, etc.;  Social and Economic factors  which focuses on high school graduation, inadequate social support, violent crime, children in poverty, etc.; and Physical Environment which measures air pollution, drinking water violations, driving alone to work and long commute, etc.

There are no drastic changes in measures from the year before but there are some new items that are included that stand out.  For example, only 48% of residents gave access to exercise opportunities according to the data provided and the ratio of residents to mental health providers is 3,833:1, which is very high compared to the state.  The ratio of residents to dentists and primary care providers is also very high.  According to the data provided in the rankings, 30% of Putnam County’s adults are obese, which is the same as the state, and 23% of adults participate in excessive drinking, higher than the state at 18%.However, women in Putnam County are more likely to have a mammogram, there are fewer children living in poverty or in single-parent households and the high school graduation is very high.

The Putnam County Health Department is currently working with several other agencies and organizations in the county to develop a community health improvement plan that will focus on some of the measures provided in the rankings and have been determined to be a need in Putnam County.  The three strategic issues that will be addressed are:  Obesity (child and adult), Mental/Behavioral Health and Alcohol/Drug Use. The County Health Rankings provide data to help measure improvement as the plan is implemented. 

For more information about the County Health Rankings or the community health improvement plan, contact Joan Kline at the Putnam County Health Department.