Local health gauge a mixed-bag for Forsyth

April 02
00:00 2013

The recently-released County Health Rankings & Roadmaps are designed to show counties throughout the nation what is making its residents sick and where improvements are needed.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation collaborated with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute to develop these rankings for each state’s counties. The hope is that by using the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, leaders from public health, health care, business, education and government can work together to create programs and policies to improve health outcomes, reduce health care costs and increase productivity.

Forsyth County ranked 28th among the 100 counties of North Carolina with regard to Health Outcome status (mortality and morbidity) compared to 25th last year. It ranked 4th among the largest five counties and 8th among the 10 largest counties with regards to Health Outcomes.

Forsyth ranked 24th among the 100 N.C. counties with regard to Health Factors (health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and the physical environment) compared to 21st last year. Forsyth ranked 4th of the largest five counties and 8th among the 10 largest counties with respect to Health Factors.

Newly-formed local coalitions, existing coalitions and health department programs are addressing some health factors such as sexually transmitted infections, smoking, teen birth rates and access to healthy food. The county is also looking to focus more closely on other issues, such as preventable hospital stays, inadequate social support, children in poverty and unemployment.

When most people in Forsyth County are healthy, there are lower health costs, fewer sick days and increased productivity, all of which are critical to economic growth, local leaders say.

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WS Chronicle

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