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Watauga High, Wilkes Low in Health Snapshot PDF Print
Written by Steve Frank   
Monday, 09 April 2012 06:09

The  County Health Rankings—the snapshot of health of nearly every county in all 50 states, shows a mixed bag across the High Country and Foothills of northwestern North Carolina.  The study uses a standard set of measures how as to how healthy people are and how long they live. This year’s rankings include several new measures, such as how many fast food restaurants are in a county and levels of physical inactivity among residents. 
On the plus side for our area, Watauga County ranks number six among the 100 NC counties, according to the third annual County Health Rankings, released today by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation while Wilkes places 77th. Wilkes statistics showed 30% of residents are obese, 28% smoke, and 23% are listed in poor or fair health.  The car crash death rate there is over twice the national benchmark. In comparison, Watauga has 25% obesity, 21% smoke, and only 15% are in poor or fair health. Avery ranked 15th in the state, while Ashe was ranked 37th with notably the largest percentage of fast food available. 
The Rankings also consider factors that affect people’s health within four categories: health behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment. Among the many health factors they look at: rates of adult smoking, adult obesity, excessive drinking
among adults, and teenage births; the number of uninsured  under age 65, availability of primary care physicians, and preventable hospital stays; rates of high school graduation, adults who have attended some college, children in poverty; community safety; limited access to healthy foods; rates of physical inactivity; and air pollution levels.

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