By Paul T. Choate
April 9, 2012. Watauga County ranked third in overall health factors, based on health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment, according to the annual “County Health Rankings” report. Avery was ranked 59th in overall health factors and Ashe was ranked 39th (see chart below).
Additionally, Watauga County ranked sixth among North Carolina’s 100 counties in health outcomes. Avery and Ashe counties were ranked 15th and 37th respectively.
Health outcomes refer to the mortality and morbidity of citizens of the counties.
In the health behaviors category, part of the overall health factors, Watauga ranked fifth, Avery ranked 18th and Ashe ranked 23rd. Health behaviors take into account adult smoking, adult obesity, physical inactivity, excessive drinking, motor vehicle crash death rates, sexually transmitted infections and teen birth rate.
Watauga and Ashe counties showed improvement in overall heath factors from the 2011 report when they were fifth and 43rd respectively. Avery, however, showed sharp decline after ranking 45th last year.
The top five counties in the state with regards to overall health factors were, Orange, first; Wake, second; Watauga, third; Camden, fourth; and Henderson, fifth.
The nationwide report is released by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
For more information on state and national rankings by county, visit countyhealthrankings.org.
Comparative Chart of Watauga, Avery and Ashe counties
Click chart to view full size.