The newly released 2013 County Health Rankings for Georgia confirm the critical role that factors such as education, jobs, income, environment and access to health care play in how healthy people are and how long they live.
Once again, the Rankings place Fulton County in the top quarter of Georgia counties on health outcomes and health factors according to the report released by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Project.
“We know that much of what influences our health happens outside of the doctor’s office – in our schools, workplaces and neighborhoods,” states Patrice A. Harris, MD, Director of Fulton County Health Services. “We have to keep looking at the multiple factors that contribute to good health and ensure that our communities are positioned to address those factors.”
County Health Rankings are categorized in two areas, health outcomes and health factors. Health outcomes represent how healthy the county is whereas health factors measure what influences the health of the county.
Out of 156 Georgia counties in the study, Fulton County’s overall health outcome ranking for 2013 is 29 while its health factor ranking is 19.
The health factors examined in the County Health Rankings go beyond medical care and include health behaviors, social and economic conditions and the physical environment-the Social Determinants of Health.
The Rankings emphasize what happens outside the doctor’s office.
“Fulton County must continue to address health disparities that affect some of our communities more than others,” adds Dr. Harris. “Everyone has a stake in community health; we have to work together to find solutions.”
Since 2009, Fulton County Health and Human Services Departments have been providing integrated services and enhanced our health promotion efforts to address health disparities and assist residents with living healthier lifestyles.
In this approach, traditional public health services have been integrated with primary care, behavioral health, oral health and human services such as employment and housing assistance and quality of life services to help with literacy and nutritional issues.
Fulton County, through service, outreach, education and policy, is addressing health conditions affecting many residents. Health Services has successfully established coalitions to address health issues such as diabetes, smoking, asthma, heart disease and breast cancer.
The County Health Rankings report the overall health of every county in the United States. The report findings provide public health and community leaders, policy-makers, consumers and advocates with an overview of how healthy a county is in comparison to others within the state.
For more information about Fulton County Health Services and the Division of Health Promotion, log on to www.fultoncountygahealth.org.
For more information about the County Health Rankings report, visit www.countyhealthrankings.org.