Madison ranks low in overall state health

The findings of the 2016 County Rankings and Roadmaps program, derived from Florida Department of Health (FDOH) data, has been released by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Using existing data available from the department at www.floridacharts.com, the FDOH develops rankings and highlight factors within the community that influence health and health outcomes.

The rankings are based on data related to physical environments, social and economic factors, health behaviors and clinical care.

Madison County ranked 64 (out of 67) in health outcomes and 66 (out of 67) in quality of life. In health factors, Madison County ranked at 57; it ranked 53 in health behaviors, 41 in clinical care, 60 in social and economic factors and 19 in physical environment.

The Florida Department of Health in Madison County (DOH-Madison) has assessed these rankings.

“The 2016 rankings indicate that the incidence of STDs and obesity rates have improved in Madison County. In addition, more women received a mammography to screen for breast cancer,” said DOH-Madison Administrator Jennifer Johnson.

In Madison County, the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) addresses specific opportunities identified by the community to improve the health of its citizens. The department partners with many stakeholders, such as the City of Madison, Madison County School District and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), to implement the CHIP and regularly track progress. Over the past three years, the Madison County Health Committee has worked to address community-chosen priority areas – healthy lifestyles, maternal and child health and obesity.

In addition, the Madison County School District has been improving the health and well being of its students by allowing the DOH-Madison school health program to implement the 5-2-1-0 campaign. This initiative works to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors such as increased physical activity, limited recreational screen time and sugary beverage consumption and elimination of the use and exposure to tobacco and nicotine products. The school district has also allowed DOH-Madison health educators to conduct evidenced-based Sexual Risk Avoidance classes. The classes likely contributed to the decrease in sexually transmitted infections and teen pregnancies as well as the improvement in graduation rates reported in the 2016 study.

The report lists that Madison County's number of STDs is at 476.0 per 100,000 population in comparison to 134.1 for the U.S. and 415.1 for Florida. The rate of teen births is at 55 percent, a high number compared to the nation's rate of 19 and the state's rate of 34.

However, since DOH-Madison has been consistent in collaborating with other agencies and educational institutions to address critical health issues, the obesity rate in Madison has reportedly dropped by two percent, an impressive change. The obesity rate for Madison County is at 34 percent.

The rate of physical inactivity in the county is 30 percent compared to the state's rate of 24 percent. However, the City of Madison and DOH-Madison have partnered up to reduce the obesity rate and increase opportunities for physical activity.

“With this partnership, Sumpter James Park will receive new state of the art playground equipment and Lake Frances’ exercise trail has new exercise equipment,” said Tim Bennett, City Manager. “Health is everyone’s responsibility. By working together, we can make Madison County a healthier place to live, learn, work and play.”

Despite the improvement in select categories, DOH-Madison noted that Madison County ranks in the bottom quartile for health outcomes and health factors, as the county did not see improvements as large as other Florida counties.

“The focus for continued improvement is critical and DOH-Madison will continue to work with the community to ensure these improvements,” said Johnson.

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