EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) - An annual look at the health of Oregon's counties shows western Oregon’s rankings are among the best and worst.
The annual County Health Rankings and Roadmaps report was released this week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The report is a compilation of public health data. For 2013 it was used to analyze 33 of Oregon’s 36 counties.
In western Oregon, Benton County came in second place, Lane County came in seventeenth, Linn County came in twenty-third, Coos County came in twenty-eighth and Douglas County came in thirtieth.
Grant County in eastern Oregon came in first place. Baker County, which is also in eastern Oregon, came in last place.
For Lane County, seventeenth place is one spot up from last year. According to the survey, the good news is that the area has higher education rates and more physically active people than Oregon's average.
The bad news? Lane County’s adult smoking rate is eoghteen percent, one percentage point higher than the Oregon average and five percentage points higher than the national benchmark.
Lane County also has a high rate of morbidity, which factors in poor physical health, poor mental health and low birth weight.
To make changes, Lane County Health and Human Services says it will focus on prevention-related programs. One of the main focal points will also be the nutritional quality of food.
"A lot of times we think of just Eugene and we think, 'oh there's plenty of health food stores there's plenty of nutrition based local foods available'. . . that's true but what we don't realize is that in the smaller communities, that's not true and that the options are limited. So what we're looking at is how can we provide as many options as possible to make sure everyone has that,” said Jason Davis, a spokesman for Lane County Health and Human Services.
One change the county would like to see is in restaurant choices. The survey showed that of all the restaurants in Lane County, fifty percent are fast food-style establishments. The county has made several strides in encouraging healthy eating over the last year though, including a partnership with DariMart stores to add a healthy food area in many of their key locations. In the summer, the store also put in farmers market food stands at key stores.
Lane County says other efforts it will try to make this year include targeting childhood obesity, making more smoke-free spaces and preventing high-risk drinking.
For a closer look at the report on Oregon, click the following link: http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/app#/oregon/2012/rankings/outcomes/overall/by-rank