Jackson County sees improvement in 2023 county health ranking


Meghan Warren, director of community health and equity at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, led the all-member Healthy Jackson County coalition meeting via Zoom on March 29.

Karla Hubbard, office administrator for the Jackson County Health Department, was at the meeting to discuss county health ranking data.

Hubbard said the newly released Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings data was good news for Jackson County.

“Last year, we were ranked 54 (out of 92 ranked counties in Indiana), but this year, we were ranked 51,” Hubbard said. “I believe when I started at the health department, we were ranked at about 60, so basically, everyone’s efforts are helping us trend up.”

Hubbard said health factors are what we can control, and the health outcomes are what we do with that.

“Within the categories identified as strengths for us are alcohol-impaired driving deaths,” she said. “In Jackson County, we have 7%. For Indiana, the percentage is 19%, and for the United States, it’s 27%, and that’s usually based on per 100,00 residents, and the percentage is divided out as they did for the COVID numbers.”

She said what was great for Jackson County for the new rankings was preventable hospital stays, which was 3,174 in Indiana, 2,809 for the United States and 1,617 for Jackson County. In 2022 in Jackson County, that number was 2,396.

“As a whole, the percentage rate of flu vaccinations was 57% for Jackson County, 54% for the state and 51% for the U.S.,” Hubbard said. “In 2022, the number was 55% of people in Jackson County that got flu vaccines, so that means more people decided to get flu shots and that’s good.”

The areas of concern for our county are the same ones Healthy Jackson County workgroups are addressing, she said.

“Adult smoking in Jackson County is at 22%, Indiana is at 20% and for the U.S., that number is 16%,” she said. “Adult obesity in Jackson County is at 38%, for Indiana, it is 37% and the U.S. shows 32% of adults are obese.”

Hubbard said a body mass index (BMI) over 30 is considered obese.

BMI is a tool health care providers use to estimate the amount of body fat by using a person’s height and weight measurements. It can help assess risk factors for certain health conditions, according to my.clevelandclinic.org.

“Then another area of concern is the teen births, where Jackson County had 43 per 100,000, Indiana had 23 and for the U.S., it was 19 per 100,000,” Hubbard said.

Warren said according to the rankings, it looked like in Jackson County, adult smoking had improved by 1% since 2022 and physical inactivity had improved by 7%.

“Our primary care provider ratio also improved significantly, but the mental health provider ratio did decrease just a small amount,” Warren said.

The link for the rankings is countyhealthrankings.org/explore-health-rankings/indiana/data-and-resources.

Healthy Jackson County is a collaboration of many organizations working to improve the health of residents.

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