Recently a study was published listing the health ranking of the 62 counties in New York State; Oneida County came in at 55th.
My Mom (ever the optimist) would have said ‘My, it looks like we have lots of opportunity for improvement!’
I downloaded the measurements that compared to our peers in New York and in some cases against the National Benchmark which would place you at the top ten percent in the U.S..
One thing I noticed immediately that in many cases there were large margins of error so I guess I take some of these numbers with a few grains of salt (despite sodium being bad for one’s health).
Let me state I am not a Doctor (or play one on TV) nor a sociologist, or a statistician; just a guy looking at a bunch of numbers and trying to make sense of them.
The really bad stuff:
We are ahead of New York State in both poor physical& mental health days. It’s interesting to note that we have 1 mental health provider for every 5,123 people; the New York State average is 1 for every 1,275; Wow!
We smoke more than the average 25% for Oneida County, 18% NY State and 14% for the U.S. Benchmark.
29% of us are obese, New York and the U.S. is 25%.
In our county 13% of our citizens have limited access to healthy food compared to 4% statewide. This absolutely floors me in an area that is blessed with fertile farmland and water. So we grow the stuff but can’t get it to the people who live here.
The median household income for Oneida County is $46,409 compared to New York State at $54,047 meaning we are roughly 15% behind. This number added to the ‘depopulating’ of the country or rather our growth being slower than other parts of the U.S. should be among the most troubling.
The good stuff (there actually is some):
We are ahead of the state in Mammography screening (85% vs. 83%), we graduate 80% of our population as opposed to 65% of New York State and only 12.7% are illiterate vs. 22% in New York State.
Our health care costs, and amount of uninsured adults beats New York.
We have no pollution/ ozone issues.
Our housing costs are lower (29% vs. 41%).
So what do we do? Do we moan and cry about our lot in life or do we take control of those things we can take control of? Tough for an individual to ‘move the needle’ on mental health providers in Oneida County; a bit easier (or at least achievable) to control one’s smoking, drinking, and physical inactivity.
Let’s create a few less opportunities for improvement.