North Country Ranks Low In County Health Study

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The study was done for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation at the University of Wisconsin. 

There are two parts - and the north country ranks better when you consider what they call Health Outcomes, which includes statistics like length of life as well as physical and mental health days taken. 

Lewis County ranks 21st, Jefferson 31st, and St Lawrence is 55th.

"We tend to do well in outcomes and I think it's because we have a very good healthcare system here in the region," said Stephen Jennings of Jefferson County Public Health.

But, when you look at Health Factors, which are largely behaviors, Lewis County is 46th, Jefferson is 52nd, and St Lawrence ranks 56th. 

There are opportunities for improvement.

"Your smoking rate might be a little bit higher than the average in New York...Obesity and opportunities for increasing physical activity and improving healthy food are areas to look at," said Dr. Julie Willems Van Dijk, deputy director of the associated County Health Roadmaps program at the University of Wisconsin.

Also, excessive drinking and a high jobless rate.

On the positive side, the violent crime rate is lower in the north country.

There are fewer uninsured here and people pull together. 

The public health directors in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties were not surprised by the study's findings. 

They understand the problems and try to address what they can with programs.

See study results

Friday, October 31, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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