The fourth annual County Health Rankings & Roadmaps tool was released today by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. These rankings serve as a snapshot of the health of individuals in counties across the state and nation.
Polk County ranked 30th in health outcomes compared to the other 67 county health departments in Florida. Health outcomes measure the overall health of our county in terms of low birth rate, premature death rate, and other factors.
Polk County ranked 43rd in health factors, which is a measure of our healthy behaviors, access to clinical care, social and economic factors, and our physical environment. Both rankings are similar to how we ranked last year.
“The Florida Department of Health in Polk is committed to working with our community partners on shared goals to improve health”, said Dr. Ulyee Choe, Interim Director of the Health Department. “Community groups such as Polk Vision, the Healthy Start Coalition’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Alliance, and Tobacco Free Polk, to name just a few, work year-round to implement strategies to address disparities in the health of Polk County residents.”
Polk County started a new initiative this year to reduce the obesity rate. Building a Healthier Polk is a group of community partners, brought together by Polk Vision, who developed a three year plan to reduce the obesity rate in Polk to less than the state average. Obesity is a risk factor for chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, which are major causes of death and preventable hospitals stays for the residents of Polk.
“This is a broad initiative, focusing efforts on six areas: school-based, neighborhood/community-based, primary care physicians, worksite-based, higher education, and communication,” says Sara Roberts, Executive Director of Polk Vision, Inc. “Workgroups are putting into action strategies to encourage healthy habits among our residents. Health is everyone’s business. We encourage individuals, schools, workplaces, and communities to make a commitment to improve the quality of life in Polk County.”
The complete report is available at www.countyhealthrankings.org.