Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Webster mid-pack in health survey of Kentucky counties

Study says local STD rate higher than the state average                                           

J-E Editor
Recently released County Health Rankings list Webster County as 53 out of 120 counties on the overall list of healthiest places in the commonwealth to live, according to a study of data from 2012. But that middle of the pack ranking comes along with some darker numbers.

Webster placed 68 on the list of health habits, still just slightly below the median, but the report presents some figures in this category that are alarming. One of the most notable was the rate of sexually transmitted diseases in the county.
There were 58 cases of Chlamydia reported in the county during the study period, giving Webster County a Chlamydia Rate of 427 per 100,000. The state score was 394. Webster was only slightly lower than the national result showing as only 438 per 100,000.
That is a dramatic increase in cases since 2009 when webster county only scored about 120 per 100,000.
Webster County also exceeded both the state and national average for tobacco use, with roughly 27% of residents reporting that they smoked daily and had smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime. The state average was only slightly lower, at 26%, while the national average was only 14%. These numbers, however, only include adult smokers who admit to using tobacco.
Residents also saw an obesity ranking that was higher than the state and national average, but those residents access to exercise opportunities was dramatically lower than that of the rest of the state and country. 33% percent of county residents are considered obese, but the report says that only two percent of the population has access to exercise opportunities. In contrast, 32% of Kentucky residents are reported as obese but 72% have access to exercise. Nationwide only 25% of the population is considered obese, but 92% have an opportunity to exercise regularly.
The study was a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

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