December 19, 2014

Medina
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Medina County ranked No. 4 healthiest in state for second consecutive year

A study again ranks Medina County the fourth healthiest county in the state.

The annual study, released Wednesday by the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute, has ranked the county as No. 4 or better every year since it began releasing its report in 2010.

Out of the 88 Ohio counties, Medina County was No. 3 in 2011 and 2012 and has been No. 4 for the other years.

Only Geauga, Putnam and Delaware counties were ahead of Medina County this year.

Krista Wasowski, health commissioner for the county Health Department, said she wasn’t surprised the county ranked so high.

“We’ve been right around that three or four rank since the rankings started,” she said. “Being No. 4 is outstanding. And really, that reflects on our residents.”

The rankings are ordered based on the lifespans of county residents and how healthy they feel throughout life.

Medina County also ranked No. 4 in “health factors,” which include various facts that influence a county’s health — like smoking, obesity, education, prevalence of physicians and the environment.

The study includes a detailed analysis of various factors.

The county’s worst ranking was 81st in the state for having long, solo commutes to work. Wasowski said the study used that section as an “indicator” for air pollution and lack of physical activity.

“It’s about air emissions from car exhausts,” she said. “And when you’re driving that long to get to work, you’re sitting for a long period. That’s time you’re not using to be physically active.”

Medina County also ranked relatively poor in air pollution at No. 68.

The report indicated worsening trends in the rates of obesity and sexually transmitted diseases, and improving trends in rates of unemployment and poverty.

Wasowski said the Health Department has been working to fight obesity by engaging children on the subject.

“We’re trying to really encourage physical activities because we have so many resources — walking trails and parks and things,” Wasowski said. “I think it’s about encouraging people to use what’s outside their doors.”

The complete report can be found at www.countyhealthrankings.org.

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