2010 Feb. 20: WY Jackson Hole: Pariculates create low ranking for Teton County for physical environment

2010 Feb. 20: WY Jackson Hole: Pariculates create low ranking for Teton County for physical environment
Study names county as healthiest in state
 
The county received a low ranking — 22 out of 23 counties — for its physical environment.

Teton County was one of four counties in the state that reported days when the amount of air pollution was “unhealthy for sensitive populations due to fine particulate matter.”

Teton County reported two days when that condition occurred. Fremont, Park and Sheridan counties — the only other counties to report any days of harmful pollution — all reported a single day. Data was taken from a 2005 project setup by the CDC  and EPA.

By Kevin Huelsmann, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
February 20, 2010

Teton County is the healthiest county in Wyoming, according to a study released this week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin.

The study culled information from federal data and surveys collected between 2000 and 2008 to measure health outcomes, behavioral trends and the social, economic and environmental factors that contribute to those.

Teton County had the lowest rate of premature death, the main health outcome measured in the study, at 4,872. The study used data that measures the years of potential life lost prior to the age of 75 per 100,000 residents. For example, if a person dies at the age of 25, he or she would contribute 50 years to the rate. The average rate in Wyoming is 7,785.

Teton County also ranked first in the state in several categories that measure “how healthy people feel while alive,” including physical and mental health and birth weight.

According to a survey conducted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 7 percent of Teton County residents said they were in poor or fair health, the lowest percentage in the state. That compares with the state average of 13 percent.

The study was premised on the belief that local programs and policies encourage certain behaviors, which affect health outcomes.

Some of the behaviors tracked by the study include smoking and drinking trends, obesity rates, death rates from car crashes, teen birth rates and chlamydia rates.

Teton County residents smoke less and are significantly less obese than residents in the rest of the state.

According to the study, about 13 percent of county residents smoke, compared with the state average of 22 percent.

The obesity rate in the county was about 13 percent. In comparison, the state average is about 25 percent.

A higher percentage of Teton County residents admitted to binge drinking than residents in the rest of the state.

About 20 percent of county residents said they had four to five drinks in one occasion in the past 30 days, which is how the study defines binge drinking. The state average is about 17 percent, according to the study.

Although Teton County ranked first overall in the study, it fell behind a handful of counties in clinical care and ranked near the bottom of the state for physical environment.

Teton County ranked ninth in the state for clinical care, which is based on the number of uninsured adults, preventable hospital stays, the rate of primary care providers, diabetic screening and hospice use.

The study estimates that about 25 percent of the county’s population under the age of 65 does not have health insurance, which is the highest percentage in the state. The state average for uninsured adults is 16 percent.

The county received a low ranking — 22 out of 23 counties — for its physical environment.

Teton County was one of four counties in the state that reported days when the amount of air pollution was “unhealthy for sensitive populations due to fine particulate matter.”

Teton County reported two days when that condition occurred. Fremont, Park and Sheridan counties — the only other counties to report any days of harmful pollution — all reported a single day. Data was taken from a 2005 project setup by the CDC  and EPA.

A full copy of the study is available at http://www.countyhealthrankings.org.

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