Orange County ranks high for health but there is still work to do 

Orange County, NC (March 30, 2017) – Orange County was named as one of the healthiest in North Carolina in the annual County Health Rankings report published by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The report has Orange County topping the list of 100 counties for health factors and coming in second for health outcomes.

The health outcomes rankings are based on factors such as length and quality of life as well as health behaviors such as smoking and access to exercise opportunities; access to clinical care; and social and economic risk factors.

“What we know is that Orange County has an abundance of resources and wealth but also has extremely high income disparity," said Allison Young, Health Informatics Manager for the Orange County Health Department. "The report highlights Orange County being in the ‘worst’ category for Income Inequality, meaning we have one of the greatest differences in income between households in the 80th percentile and those in the 20th percentile. This disparity can create broad health impacts including an increased risk of mortality and chronic disease. Barriers to accessing care, healthy food, and exercise opportunities contribute to this risk.” 

Last week the Orange County Health Department released nine data dashboards highlighting the most current data and trends on health-related issues in Orange County. The dashboards include data on subjects from Chronic Disease to Tobacco Use to Social Determinants of Health and Poverty, among others. The data included in the dashboards combined with the Community Health Assessment have helped the Orange County Board of Health to set the county’s health priorities and target interventions. The priorities identified in the 2016-2018 Board of Health Strategic Plan include: Social Determinants of Health; Physical Activity and Nutrition; and Substance Abuse and Mental Health.

The Health Department will be showcasing the services and initiatives currently underway during National Public Health Week, April 3-9th. The community is encouraged to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about the ways Orange County is working to improve health for all residents.

To learn more about, and participate in, Orange County’s National Public Health Week activities visit our website at: www.OrangeCountyNC.gov/health.