Georgians can now find out how their individual county stacks up against other counties in the state – and in the rest of the...

Georgians can now find out how their individual county stacks up against other counties in the state – and in the rest of the nation – on important public health measures.

Partner Up for Public Health, an advocacy campaign, has introduced a database and interactive map that analyzes the relative health of all 159 Georgia counties.

The statistics are compiled using four social determinants (such as poverty and education), six health indicators (including adult obesity prevalence and the rate of uninsured people) and five health outcomes (such as cancer deaths and adult diabetes rate).

Each county receives an overall 2010 rank as an average of the 15 measurements. The data are derived from the CDC, the U.S. Census Bureau and several Georgia databases.The map shows which counties are doing best – in green – and which need major improvement – in red.

Here’s the report link.

Local boards of health can use this data to measure themselves with nearby counties, to help set health priorities and approach governments for specific funding, said Bob Stolarick, executive director of the Georgia Public Health Association.

Funded by the Healthcare Georgia Foundation, Partner Up is a statewide effort to advance public health in Georgia. It aims to shore up a public health system that has been hit by recent budget cuts.

Partner Up found that 60 percent of Georgia counties rate worse than the U.S. average in 10 or more of the 15 measurements. One particularly disturbing statistic: 89 percent of counties in the state have a higher rate of obese adults than the U.S. average of 26.3 percent.

The obesity issue was highlighted at a Tuesday symposium sponsored by the Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Institute. A notable factor contributing to the Georgia obesity epidemic is that many neighborhoods lack sidewalks, so walking is not always safe or practical.

In addition, children nationally are spending more than seven hours a day with electronic media, said Na’Taki Osborne Jelks of the National Wildlife Federation. “Kids do not spend much time outdoors,’’ she said, adding that many don’t have recess at school. These and other factors are helping to drive up the childhood obesity rate in this state and others, said Jelks, an Atlantan.


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Andy Miller

Andy Miller is editor and CEO of Georgia Health News

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