Zionsville Times Sentinel

Local News

April 5, 2012

Rising higher: Boone 2nd on health list

Based on measurements ranging from the number of fast food restaurants to obesity and smoking rates, Boone County is ranked the second-healthiest county in Indiana. Boone was ranked second in health outcomes, which includes mortality and morbidity, and in health factors, which is based on access to care, education, the physical environment, and other topics.

HamiltonCountywas ranked first in both health outcomes and health factors.

It’s the second consecutive year Boone has risen in the list compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Boone was Indiana’s fourth-healthiest county in the study’s first year, and was ranked third in 2011.

The 2012 study, designed to rate the nation’s health by using common standards, and how long Americans live, was released at midnight.

Richard Stroup of the Boone County Healthy Coalition and Dr. Herschell Services, Boone County Health Officer, said the rating shows a steady improvement in making the community a healthier place to live and work.

Within subcategories, under health outcomes Boone ranked second in mortality, and fifth in morbidity. Mortality, defined as the years of potential life lost before age 75, is a projected 5,591 per 100,000 population; the 2012 Census counted just over 56,000 residents in Boone. A person who dies at age 25 counts as 50 years lost, for example.

Morbidity is a measure of poor or fair health, poor physical health days, poor mental healthy days and low birth weight.

Under health factors, the county was second in clinical care, second in social and economic factors, and 55th in physical environment, including air pollution levels and the number of fast food restaurants.

Boone has a primary care physician for every 410 residents, higher than any other county, and far above the national benchmark of one doctor for 631 people. Indiana’s patient-primary care physician ratio is 889 to 1.

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