The eighth annual County Health Rankings were released for 2017 this month. The rankings show us where we live matters to our health.
This year, national key findings show that more Americans are dying prematurely and drug overdose was the leading cause of premature death. Nationally, rural counties continue to have the highest premature death rates; however, premature death rates rose in 2015 across all racial and ethnic groups and community types.
County Health Rankings continue to highlight important information about our communities. In Alleghany, Ashe and Watauga Counties, adult smoking and adult obesity continue to be leading risks for premature death. Chronic disease management and awareness—including tobacco use, diabetes and obesity—have been a top priority for AppHealthCare since community members identified this need in the 2014 Community Health Needs Assessment.
This year’s County Health Rankings coincide with National Public Health Week – April 3rd through April 9th. This week and every week, AppHealthCare is promoting ways that each of us can make the healthy choice, the easy choice. Remember that chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity are preventable. Physical activity, diets full of fruits and vegetables, reducing alcohol consumption and not using tobacco products would root out a large portion of the nation’s chronic disease problem. You can make a difference by (American Public Health Association):
- Supporting federal, state and local efforts that make it easier for all people to safely walk, bike and be physically active in their communities.
- Speaking up on behalf of policy efforts that make it easier for everyone to access nutritious food.
- Patronizing businesses that say no to tobacco sales and marketing.
- Supporting policies that reduce alcohol consumption.
Good health allows people to fulfill their potential and thrive. The rankings make it clear that good health is influenced by many factors beyond medical care including housing, education, jobs, access to healthy foods, and more.
WHAT ARE THE COUNTY HEALTH RANKINGS?
Published online at www.countyhealthrankings.org, the rankings help counties understand what influences how healthy residents are and how long they will live. The rankings are unique in their ability to measure the current overall health of each county in all 50 states. They also look at a variety of measures that affect the future health of communities, such as high school graduation rates, access to healthy foods, rates of smoking, obesity, and teen births.
For additional information about AppHealthCare or other community resources and health related data, please call our offices, Alleghany (336) 372-5641, Ashe (336) 246-9449, Watauga (828) 264-4995, or visit our website at www.apphealthcare.com and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.