Newest County health rankings show where Ballard stands

Kelly Paul, AY Editor

Newest County health rankings show where Ballard stands 

Ballard County - The health evaluation tool that calls itself “The annual checkup of over 3,000 counties in the nation was released last week. This is the fifth year of the County Health Rankings, which are compiled by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) assessing the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states by using a standard way to measure how healthy people are and how long the live.

The rankings fall into two categories: health outcomes and health factors. Health outcomes include factors such as premature death rates, low birth weight and how many days of the past 30 that someone said he felt bad physically or mentally. Oldham, Boone, and Shelby counties ranked the highest as first, second and third in the health outcomes category, which is the same as last year. Ballard County ranked 89th out of 120 counties ranked in this category. This is down from its 92nd ranking last year.

Health Factors include Health Behaviors: the percentage of adults who smoke, are obese or drink excessively, teen birth rate, and sexually transmitted infections. The Clinical Care component of this category assesses a county’s health care landscape: the number of primary care providers and what percentage of adults is uninsured, for example. Social and economic factors in this ranking include unemployment rates, high-school graduation rates, and the percentage of children in poverty. 

The physical environment component of the Health Factors category include such factors as access to healthy food, the number of recreational facilities, and environmental quality. In Health Factors, Oldham, Woodford, and Boone counties were first, second, and third, just as they were last year. Ballard ranked 35th in this category; this is up from Ballard’s ranking of 24th last year.

This year’s Rankings also feature several new measures including transportation, housing, and access to mental health providers. 

In the March 26th press release from the Health and Family Services Cabinet, Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Stephanie Mayfield said, “This report demonstrates public health successes and highlights opportunities for improvement in counties across the commonwealth.”

In addition to the updated rankings, Kentucky has been selected by RWJF as one of three states being highlighted nationally for its success in implementing strategies for improving health at the community level, according to the press release.

“The Robert Wood Johnson Foundations’ vision for a culture of health is one where everyone has the opportunity to be healthy,” said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF president and CEO. “The County Health Rankings are a starting point for change, helping communities come together, identify priorities, and create solutions that will help all in our diverse society live healthier lives, now and for generations to come”

For more specific information regarding Ballard County’s ranking, visit www.countyhealthrankings.org.