Stillwater News Press

February 18, 2010

Payne County named one of healthiest counties in Oklahoma

Report lists Payne County as third healthiest

By Chelcey Adami
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Payne County has been ranked as one of the healthiest counties in Oklahoma.

A new report said Woods County has the healthiest residents in Oklahoma and Latimer County has those with the poorest health.

The report released Wednesday by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ranks the overall health of the counties in all 50 states.

It ranks Woods, Beaver, Payne, Cleveland and Texas counties as Oklahoma’s healthiest.

The report bases the health rate on the rate of people dying before age 75, the percent of people who report being in fair or poor health, the number of days people report being in poor physical and poor mental health and the rate of low-birthweight infants.

Payne County was third for “health outcomes” and eighth for “health factors.”

“In this ranking, the measure of ‘health outcomes’ is intended to represent how healthy a county is. This ranking is based on an equal weighting of mortality and morbidity measures,” Payne County Health Department Administrative Director Annette O’Connor said “Another measure used in this report is ‘health factors.’ Four types of factors were used to arrive at an overall ranking including health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment.”

O’Connor said numerous factors contribute to overall improved health status but particularly proactive medical communities, education communities, business communities, religious communities and local municipalities that actively support physical activity, fitness and healthy lifestyle.

The report said Payne County has a higher rate of people with college degrees than other areas of the state.

The areas the report said Payne County is weakest in are access to healthy foods, higher numbers of binge drinking incidents and high numbers of uninsured adults.

“Our biggest challenge is to continue to build upon those programs and community projects intended to improve health status and reach out to more individuals to become involved either on an individual level or community level,” O’Connor said.

View the rankings at www.countyhealthrankings.org.