Delaware County has once again topped the latest rankings of the healthiest counties in the state, according to the 2023 County Health Rankings that were released March 29.
The rankings, which are presented annually by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, have now listed Delaware County as the healthiest county in Ohio for nine consecutive years based on two primary categories that include health outcomes and health factors.
Health outcomes represent how healthy a county is at the time of the rankings, in terms of both length and quality of life, while health factors represent “those things we can modify to improve the length and quality of life for residents,” according to the County Health Rankings website.
Length of life is determined by analyzing the premature death numbers from 2018-2020 as recorded by the National Center for Health Statistics. Quality of life statistics are calculated by analyzing various metrics from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System’s data for 2020. Considerations for health factors include behaviors such as tobacco use, diet and exercise, alcohol and drug use, and sexual activity factors, among others.
Access to quality clinical care also factors into the health factors grade, as does social and economic factors such as education, employment, income, and community safety, as well as physical environment factors such as air and water quality and housing and transit.
“This ranking provides an exciting snapshot of how Delaware County residents prioritize health and how they want to improve their health as influenced by where they live, learn, work, and play,” said Delaware County Health Commissioner Garrett Guillozet in a press release, although he noted the rankings are not a grading system for health departments.
Warren County was determined to be the second healthiest county in the state, while Putnam, Geauga, and Medina counties rounded out the top five.
Guillozet said the ranking also solidifies how important it is to not only sustain public health services but also expand services and programs that meet the needs of all residents and to ensure those programs and services are meeting residents right where they are located.
“Delaware County, while being the healthiest county in the state, has identified several health priorities to focus on during the next cycle of our Community Health Improvement Plan,” he went on to say. “Regardless of the health priority, our goal is to ensure that all residents have adequate access to care and that, when possible, barriers to that care are removed.”
The 2023-2028 Community Health Improvement Plan is currently being formulated and implemented by the Delaware Public Health District along with several community partners that make up The Partnership for a Healthy Delaware County.
“The work being done through the Community Health Improvement Plan evaluates specific issues in an effort to strengthen and support strategies set in motion to improve those health issues,” Guillozet said.
The plan can be viewed by visiting www.delawarehealth.org. For more information on the county rankings, visit www.countyhealthrankings.org.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.