Muscatine County Health Rankings Released Today

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

A new 2014 report from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute ranks Muscatine County 62nd out of Iowa’s 99 counties for health outcomes (improving from 66th last year).  Outcomes indicate the current health of a community and its residents, and measure such areas as morbidity and premature death. Muscatine ranks much lower in health factors – 82nd of the 99 counties, although this is also an improvement from 86th last year.

“We know these rankings are only a snapshot in time and not a complete picture of Muscatine County’s health, but we take them seriously,” said Mary Odell, Director of Public Health at Trinity Muscatine. “We’ll use the rankings in conjunction with our community health needs assessment and planning efforts to find the best ways to build on our successes and address our challenges.” “There is definitely room for more improvement. We don’t want to continue to be in the bottom quarter of counties for health behaviors.”

Successes that were identified in the rankings include health behaviors of teen birth rate (although still higher than the state average); clinical care area of preventable hospital stays, and social & economic factors of increased high school graduation rate, decreased unemployment and children in poverty.

Gaps identified in Muscatine County’s health included health behaviors of adult obesity, clinical care area of not enough primary care physicians or dentists, and social & economic factors of children in single-parent households. “Both our successes and gaps show the need for ongoing public and private partnerships to improve the health of all residents; many of the Blue Zones Project efforts will eventually make an impact on these indicators” said Odell.

The County Health Rankings were compiled by taking into account a wide range of health factors, including healthy behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment in every county. They are based on a variety of widely available, population-based data sets that are standardized to compare counties within a state.  The County Health Rankings were developed through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

For more information about the County Health Rankings, visit www.countyhealthrankings.org/.