Coweta gets high ranking in statewide public health assessment

Coweta County has received a ranking of number 22 out of Georgia’s 159 counties when it comes to residents’ overall health. Funded by the Healthcare Georgia Foundation (HGF), the findings of the statewide advocacy campaign, Partner Up! for Health were released Wednesday.

A snapshot of Coweta’s statewide ranking showed the residents fared better than the Georgia average in 11 of 15 measures and better than the national average in seven of 14 measures. And Coweta ranks in the top 25 percent of Georgia counties in six of 15 measures, including education, poverty, sexually transmitted diseases, low birthweight, life expectancy and asthma.

The study was divided into categories that included Social Determinants, Health Indicators and Health Outcomes.

Within the Social Determinants category comparing Georgia's 159 counties Coweta was ranked:

-17th for the percentage of high school graduates or higher, or 81.6 percent

-10th for the percentage below the poverty level, or 9.6 percent

-59th for the total crime rate for counties of more than 100,000, or 2,234.7 crimes

-45th for the unemployment rate, or 9.7 percent

In the Health Indicators categories ranked Coweta:

-47th for percentage of obese adults, or 28.7 percent

-39th for sexually transmitted diseases per 100,000, or 331.1

-10th for low weight births per 100, or 6.2

-53rd for percentage of uninsured, or 17.6 percent

-79th for the number of person per physician, or 1,018

-44th for teen birth rates per 1,000, or 49.7

In the Health Outcomes category Coweta ranked:

-28th in life expectancy, or 75.8 years

-69th for adults with diabetes per 100,000, or 11.1

-39th in asthma hospitalizations per 100,00, or 91

-79th in age adjusted cardiovascular deaths per 100,000, or 304.1

-104 in age adjusted cancer deaths, or 213.8

And compared to the United States, Coweta County residents fared better in educational attainment, poverty level, crime rate, sexually transmitted diseases, low birth weights, percentage uninsured and asthma hospitalization.

Coweta scored below the national average in unemployment, percentage of obese adults, number of persons per physician, teen birth rate, life expectancy, age adjusted cardiovascular deaths and age adjusted cancer deaths.

For more information on the 2010 Georgia Public Health Ranking Report visit http://www.togetherwecandobetter.com/countybycounty.html

The database pulled together county-level public health data from a variety of existing public sources and organizes it in a system that makes it easy to pull county-specific reports and compare the health of citizens in any county with the remainder of the state and the nation, according to HGF. An interactive map feature on the report’s website uses the overall county rankings to create a color-coded display where counties in the top 25 percent are green, next 25 percent are yellow, next 25 percent are orange, and bottom 25 percent are red. From the map page, users can scroll over a county to see a snapshot of statistics, or, click on that county for the full report.

The report ranks each county for each of the 15 measurements, and then averages the measurement-specific rankings to produce an overall ranking for each county. It also identifies areas where each county is particularly strong or weak, and indicates the number of measures in which a given county is better or worse than both the Georgia average and the U.S. average.

As a state, Georgia could stand to show significant improvement in many of the measurement categories.
Analysis of the data shows that, as a state Georgia rates worse than the rest of the United States in 13 of the 14 included measurements. And 60 percent of Georgia counties rate worse than the United States in 10 or more of these measurements. HGF said other disturbing revelations include:

-89 percent of Georgia counties have more obese adults than the U.S. average of 26.3 percent.

-91 percent of Georgia counties have a lower life expectancy than the U.S. median of 76.5 years.

-66 percent of Georgia counties have a worse rate of death from cancer than the U.S. average of 178.4 deaths per 100,000.

“Our purpose with this project is to provide individuals, the media and other stakeholders with an easy-to-use tool to examine key public health statistics at a county level,” said Charles Hayslett, spokesman for the Partner Up! for Public Health campaign.  “The simple fact of the matter is that Georgia has been losing ground in virtually every public health ranking for most of the past decade, but after a while state-level statistics simply don’t have much impact. What we’ve tried to do with this database is break as much data as we can down to a local level and put it out so that people can easily see it and examine it.”

  “For the most part, it’s not a pretty picture,” Hayslett continued. “It’s not our purpose to embarrass any area or put any counties in a negative spotlight. But we’ve concluded that we have to call attention to the extent and gravity of Georgia’s health problems before we can expect local and state leaders to address them.”

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