Among top five for fourth consecutive year
On March 20, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute released the 2013 County Health Rankings for New York state as well as the rest of the country. Putnam County was ranked fourth in the state in the overall category of “health outcomes,” after having been No. 1 for three consecutive years.
“We’re still doing well,” said Dr. Allen Beals, commissioner of health. “A fourth-place ranking among 62 counties indicates superior health.” Even when Putnam ranked first, the health challenges the county faced, such as adult obesity, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol consumption among adult residents, did not meet state and national benchmarks. This year, these areas did not show any significant improvement. “We will continue to aggressively target these areas,” said Beals.
In 2013 for the first time, the Putnam County Department of Health is spearheading countywide efforts to formulate a Community Health Improvement Plan, known as the CHIP. This multidisciplinary approach to planning health improvements will be formulated in collaboration with a wide variety of community partners including hospitals, community-based organizations such as mental health and substance abuse agencies, schools, businesses and others.
Current efforts to improve the county’s health status include the department’s Live Healthy Putnam initiative, which addresses chronic-disease prevention efforts through collaboration with community partners including schools, restaurants, farmers markets, recreation centers and many others.
“I know how hard the Health Department and other county agencies work to address these issues,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “However, behavior is very difficult to change. I am committed to support the Health Department in their efforts to address these health issues.”