Smoking, obesity, STIs, violent crime land Shawnee Co. in bottom half of health rankings

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Adult smoking, adult obesity, STIs and violent crime have landed Shawnee County at 54th and 56th place for health outcomes and factors in the updated County Health Rankings.

The Shawnee Co. Health Dept. says the 2022 County Health Rankings were released on Wednesday, April 27, and it shows the county ranked 54th in Kansas for health outcomes and 56th for health factors. It said the data was collected for all 104 Kansas counties.

SCHD said the County Health Rankings are released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and analyze a variety of elements that impact the overall health of a community.

Areas ranked in the study include the length of life, quality of life, health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment.

The Health Department said it incorporates the health rankings into the local Community Health Needs Assessment processes as well as in the development and analysis of the Community Health Improvement Plan.

Additionally, SCHD said communities have the choice to use the rankings to find and gather support for local health improvement initiatives among government agencies, health care providers, community organizations, business leaders, policymakers and the public.

“The County Health Rankings provide a wonderful snapshot of how we compare to other counties in Kansas; highlighting that where we live, work, learn and play has an impact on our health,” said Teresa Fisher, Director of Shawnee County Health Department. “There continues to be a lot of momentum around improving the overall quality of life here in Topeka and Shawnee County, especially as we enter into the endemic phase of COVID-19. The Health Department will continue this work by looking for opportunities to effectively collaborate with new and existing partners in furthering the improvement of the health in our community.”

According to the report, areas of strength for Shawnee Co. include:

  • Access to exercise opportunities
  • Overall clinical care
    • Ratio of population to Primary Care Physicians
    • Ratio of population to Mental Health Providers
    • Mammography screening
    • Flu vaccinations
  • High school completion

Areas that could improve include:

  • Adult smoking
  • adult obesity
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Violent crime

In honor of the release of the rankings, SCHD said from 11:30 am to 1 pm on Monday, May 9, staff will be at the Shawnee Co. Public Library, 1515 SW 10th Ave., in partnership with Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods to host the annual County Health Rankings: A Community Conversation – an annual breakdown of the Rankings with a look to the future to create awareness around improving the health of all residents in Shawnee Co.

To register for the conversation, click HERE.

For more information about the County Health Rankings, click HERE.

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