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MAYVILLE – A recent study ranking the health factors of counties in New York State shows several areas where Chautauqua County needs improvement, according to Christine Schuyler, RN, director of health and human services.

The report released March 26 by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ranked the county 54th among 62 counties in the category of health outcomes and 48th in the category of health factors.

“These rankings emphasize that promoting healthy communities requires that we address the social determinants of health, such as transportation, education, access to healthy food and exercise, behavior choices, economic opportunities and more,” said Schuyler.

The Health Outcomes category focuses on death rates and illness and premature death, number of poor physical and mental health days and occurrence of low-birth- weight babies.

The Health Factors category consists of other issues including smoking, obesity, alcohol intake, clinical care, social and economic factors and the physical environment. The report cited that 24 percent of adults in Chautauqua County smoke compared with 17 percent statewide. It also stated that 21 percent of adults drink excessive alcohol, compared with 17 percent state wide.

The rate of children in poverty was 36 percent compared with 23 percent statewide.

Schuyler said there are many initiatives to try to change the health issues in the county, including new programs to educate women on pre-natal care and coordinating better drug and alcohol awareness.

Ranked 22nd out of the 62 counties, clinical care was Chautauqua County’s best category. Contributing to this measure were relatively minimal preventable hospital stays, optimal screenings of diabetic Medicare enrollees, and high rates of mammography screenings. A high ratio of patients to primary care physicians, dentists and mental health providers lowered the ranking.

The complete report can be viewed at the Chautauqua County website.