October 20, 2014

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Medina County ranks fourth in state health report

Medina County is the fourth healthiest county in Ohio, according to a new study.

The study, released Wednesday, was done by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin.

The study ranked Ohio’s 88 counties by comparing deaths, illness, smoking, drinking, education, unemployment, physical environment and a variety of other factors.

Medina only trailed Geauga, Putnam and Delaware counties.

“Medina County has consistently ranked fourth or higher since the first rankings in 2010,” county Health Commissioner Krista Wasowski said. “The consistent ranking of Medina County is a strong indicator of the many health and social programs available to Medina County residents, and the collaborative nature of our county agencies.”

A complete listing of the rankings is available at www.countyhealthrankings.org.

The study reported that the county had almost a third fewer unnatural deaths per 10,000 people than the state average, and was below average in the number of people who reported fair or poor health.

Additionally, the study found that the county had fewer people smoking and excessively drinking than the state average and had less obesity and fewer sexually transmitted diseases among adults.

The report also said the county had a greater rate of high school graduation and a smaller poverty rate.

Kristen Hildreth, a county Health Department spokeswoman, said she’s happy with the results.

“After all, it’s not just one factor that makes a community healthy or not,” Hildreth said. “It’s so many, which is why this report is so nice.”

Hildreth said the county ranked fourth in 2010 and third in 2011 and 2012.

“That’s good,” she said. “I’m not panicking about a drop of one rank. If it was third to 20th, then we’d have a problem.”

She said the data for the county has been about the same all four years, and that’s what counts.

“We’re consistently in the same ballpark,” Hildreth said. “If another county improves, you might go down — but that might not be anything you’re doing wrong.”

Hildreth is co-director of Living Well Medina County, a coalition of area health, faith and school officials. Living Well conducted a countywide health survey and developed a plan based on the results in September.

The September survey and Wednesday’s report showed similar trends.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.