Get Healthy

GEAUGA County apparently is doing something that the rest of us aren’t, particularly in Eastern Ohio.

The recently released health survey by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute reveals that the northeastern county is rated first among Ohio’s 88 counties.

Seven percent of the Geauga County residents are in poor or fair health. In that category, four counties in the immediate area show percentages in the double digits with Monroe County listing 15 percent; Belmont and Harrison counties, slightly higher with 16 percent; and Jefferson, 24 percent.

Also, the four counties didn’t fare well overall as not one of them was in the top 20, and Monroe County barely made it past the halfway mark among Ohio’s 88 counties as its ranking was 43rd. Next among the counties in the immediate area was Belmont County, which was 56th while Harrison placed 63rd and Jefferson County was 80th.

Factors such as longevity, infant mortality rates, access to health care and individual behaviors such as smoking and physical activity were considered for the rankings. Education, unemployment and income were among the social and economic factors heavily weighted in the survey.

Interesting information regarding the survey is on the website,

Geauga County’s figures for adult smoking and excessive drinking were 18 and 20 percent, respectively, and Monroe County fared much better than the northeastern Ohio county as well as area counties with 6 percent for excessive drinking.

It isn’t too surprising that Geauga County had a lower unemployment rate than those in the immediate area as it listed unemployment at 6.5 percent and children in poverty at 12 percent.

Unemployment in the four Eastern Ohio counties ranged from 8.6 percent to 11.2 percent.

The rates for children in poverty in the immediate area were more than double the percentage of 12 in Geauga County. Monroe, Jefferson and Harrison counties each had 28 percent while Belmont County’s percentage was 24.

Adult obesity and physical activity in Geauga County were in the 20s while percentages for all four area counties were in the 30s.

Although the top-rated county has more access to recreational facilities than this area, there’s one activity available to most of us, and it doesn’t need a facility – just get out and walk.