April 6, 2013

Region's health roadmap points to problems

MALONE — North Country residents smoke more, eat more and drink more than the average Joe.

They also have a harder time finding a dentist, a primary-care physician and someone to lean on for emotional support.

So say the findings in the 2013 County Health Rankings and Roadmaps Program from the Robert Wood Johnson Institute and University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute.

It evaluates health trends in the United States and ranks each as a means to encourage healthier communities.

“We know that much of what influences our health happens outside of the doctor’s office: in our schools, workplaces and neighborhoods,” the program website states, adding that its work “can show what we can do to create healthier places to live, learn, work and play.”

The published results “are helping communities look at the many factors that influence health, focus on strategies we know work and make changes that will have a lasting impact on health.”


Overall, Essex County ranked best for local counties as far as health factors, coming in 19th out of 62 counties. Those behaviors included smoking, drinking, eating, lack of exercise, motor-vehicle crashes, sexually transmitted diseases and teen birth rates.

Clinton County ranked 44th, and Franklin County was 51st.

Smoking: The data reported that 10 percent of adults nationwide and 18 percent of New Yorkers smoke cigarettes every day. That compares to 18 percent in Clinton County, 15 percent in Essex County and 19 percent in Franklin County.

Obesity: One in four people, or 25 percent of the population of the United States and New York state, are considered obese, which is defined as a person with a body-mass index of 30 or more. Residents in all three area counties rank higher than that, with Essex and Franklin counties at 28 percent and Clinton County at 29 percent.

Alcohol: The rate of binge and excessive drinking locally is nearly three times the national average, the study found. The national average is 7 percent, the state average is 17 percent, but the average in Clinton County is 25 percent; Essex County, 19 percent; and Franklin County is 22 percent.

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