Douglas drops to 8th healthiest county in Kansas

Note: This has been updated from an earlier version.

Douglas County is the eighth healthiest county in Kansas, dropping four spots from last year.

The healthiest:

  1. Riley

  2. Johnson

  3. Mitchell

  4. Coffey

  5. Ellis

  6. Kingman

  7. Pottawatomie

The five least healthy are Cherokee, Montgomery, Wyandotte, Bourbon and Allen.

Haining Lou, Lawrence, shops for some vegetables and fruit earlier this month at The Merc. A recently released report ranked Douglas County as the eighth healthiest county in Kansas. One of the measures is access to healthy foods — an area the county is doing well in.

Haining Lou, Lawrence, shops for some vegetables and fruit earlier this month at The Merc. A recently released report ranked Douglas County as the eighth healthiest county in Kansas. One of the measures is access to healthy foods — an area the county is doing well in. by Mike Yoder

The report “County Health Rankings: Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health” was released late Tuesday. It was done by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

This is the second year for the report, which ranks the overall health of the counties in all 50 states by using a standard formula.

Here’s how Douglas County ranked in the specific health measures:

No. 5 for mortality. It looks at years of potential life lost. In 2010: No. 3.

No. 35 for morbidity. It is based on quality of life and birth outcomes. In 2010: No. 36.

No. 8 for health behaviors. This includes smoking, diet, exercise, alcohol use and risky sex behavior. In 2010: No. 4.

No. 35 for clinical care. This includes access to care and quality of care. In 2010: No. 20.

No. 12 for social and economic factors. This includes education, employment, income, family and social support, and community safety. In 2010: No. 14.

No. 88 for physical environment. This includes measures of environmental quality and the built environment. In 2010: No. 4.

Some of the criteria changed this year. For example, researchers looked at access to recreation centers instead of liquor store density, which is mainly why the county plummeted in physical environment. But, the measure is only 10 percent of the overall score.

Adam Braun, left, and Kelly John Clark, both of Lawrence, exercise on treadmills Wednesday at the Community Building, 115 W. 11th St. Douglas County is the eighth healthiest county in Kansas, according to a report released late Tuesday. But that's a four-spot drop from last year.

Adam Braun, left, and Kelly John Clark, both of Lawrence, exercise on treadmills Wednesday at the Community Building, 115 W. 11th St. Douglas County is the eighth healthiest county in Kansas, according to a report released late Tuesday. But that's a four-spot drop from last year. by Mike Yoder

Dan Partridge, director of the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, said the value of this report is that it generates conversation and provides an incentive for change.

“Riley County is healthier than us? That should matter,” he said.

Partridge’s primary areas of concern are access to care, adult diabetes, binge drinking and sexually-transmitted infections.

He is hoping that Heartland Community Health Center gets the Federally Qualified Health Center designation that it has applied for. That designation will bring hundreds of thousands of dollars into the community to provide more care to low-income residents.

“I’ve felt like that’s been needed for a long time,” he said.

Dr. John Listerman, left and Allison Veeder, ARNP, confer about a patient Wednesday, March 30, 2011, at Heartland Community Health Center. The center provides medical care for low-income residents.

Dr. John Listerman, left and Allison Veeder, ARNP, confer about a patient Wednesday, March 30, 2011, at Heartland Community Health Center. The center provides medical care for low-income residents. by Mike Yoder

He is discouraged by the county’s inactivity and obesity rates.

“With diabetes, we went from being one of the healthier counties to we are no better than the rest of the state,” he said. “That just doesn’t fit with the image of Douglas County and Lawrence. We perceive ourselves as being physically fit and active, and a little more immune to diabetes, but we aren’t.”

Tagged: Douglas County, health

Comments

Erika Dvorske 3 years ago

Access to healthcare is affecting our ranking. United Way is inviting folks who want to figure out how to address this to a meeting. We will be having a meeting to discuss how we will tackle this goal at United Way on Friday, April 8 from 2-3:30. Please come if you are interested!

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Benjamin Roberts 3 years ago

"The report “County Health Rankings: Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health” was released late Tuesday. It was done by the University of Wisconsin..."

It is too bad that Lawrence doesn't have a University with a medical school that could have received a grant to perform this type of study ....

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ralphralph 3 years ago

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ralphralph 3 years ago

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