Below-average results

Published 8:17 pm Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The results are in. Out of 100 counties, Beaufort County ranks as the 56th healthiest county in the state of North Carolina.

County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, a project collaboration between the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, dissects the nation as whole, county by county, illustrating who’s healthy and why.

According to the study, education and income of a county’s residents greatly affect the overall health statistics for a county. What we’re told by the study is the following with parenthesis reflecting the comparison of Beaufort County to North Carolina statistics and the benchmark national statistics: 22 percent of us are in poor or fair health (10 percent benchmark, 18 percent state); 36 percent of our adults are obese (25 percent, 29 percent); 30 percent of us are physically inactive (21 percent, 25 percent); 20 percent of us are uninsured (11 percent, 18 percent); our primary-care physicians work out to 986 patients to one doctor (631:1, 859:1); 9,162 of our residents died prematurely (5,466 and 7,961) and we have 32 percent of our children living in poverty (13 percent, 25 percent).

There is good news in that Beaufort County outranks state statistics on these issues: access to recreational facilities, better air quality, adequate social support, high-school graduation rates, preventable hospital stays, less excessive drinking and less people smoking.

No reason to rest on our laurels, though. Fifty-six out of 100 makes us below-average healthy. Looking at lifestyle changes that will make us healthier and happier might just help Beaufort County climb the ladder to the top rankings.