Scioto is the unhealthiest county in the entire state of Ohio. A study by County Health Rankings ranks the area number 88 out of 88 counties. What’s so unhealthy about Scioto County? Basically, residents are fat, they smoke, apparently have a lot of STDs, and die too soon. Let’s look at how they arrived at the data:
The Rankings are based on health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and the physical environment.
Health Behaviors include:
- Tobacco use – 22% of residents smoke, that’s almost double the average of the healthiest counties in the country.
- Diet & Exercise – 39% of residents are obese. That’s compared to 26% of the population in the healthiest counties.
- Alcohol & Drug Use
- Sexual Activity – STDs are at 214 per 100,000. That’s lower less than half of Ohio’s incredibly high average of 526 but higher than the healthiest counties where the rate is 161.4. The county also has a teen birth rate of 39 per 1000 people. That number is three times the rate of the healthiest communities.
Clinical Care includes:
- Access to care – Scioto County has 1 primary care doctor per 1580 patients. That’s less than 1,030 to 1 ratio found in healthy communities. The ratio of dentists is 2700 to 1. That’s less than half the number of dentists to patients found in the healthiest communities.
- Quality of care – According to the study the county sees 6,782 preventable hospital stays per 100,000 Medicare recipients. That number is nearly 3 times the rate in the healthiest communities.
Social and Economic Factors include:
- Income – The number of children in poverty stands at 29%. That’s nearly three times the rate in the healthiest counties and 10% higher than the rest of Ohio.
- Family & Social Support
- Community Safety – Violent crime is also a major problem. Local rates are 188 per 100,000 people. While lower than the Ohio average, the numbers are still close to 3 times the rates found in the healthiest communities. The study also showed 119 injury deaths per 100,000. That number is double that of the safest counties and significantly higher than the rest of Ohio.
Physical Environment includes:
- Air & Water Quality
- Housing & Transit.
As a result of all these health issues, the study said residents die far too young. An estimated 13,000 out of 100,000 residents pass before age 75. That is more than double the premature death rate for the healthiest counties and 50% higher than the rest of Ohio.
One thing to keep in mind when checking out the data is that many of these figures have gigantic margins of error. If you drill down into the figures, some of the margins are greater than the numbers they’re showing. So basically, a lot of this stuff is just a good guess.
Scioto County Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Martin is currently looking over the data. He said he’d have a comment once he’s reviewed it.