Health needs study shows income status leads to poor health outcomes, behaviors

  • July 24, 2020
  • News

CHILLICOTHE, OH (July 22, 2020) – Results of the 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), performed by Partners for a Healthier Ross County, reveals that income status continues to lead to poorer health outcomes and health behaviors. In Ross County, 18 percent of residents live at or below the U.S. poverty level.

“The Community Health Needs Assessment gives us a regular opportunity to hear directly from the people we serve, and to understand the factors that contribute to their overall health,” said Kim Jones, Adena Community Health and Development director. “Working together, Partners for a Healthier Ross County, evaluates data and develops strategies and programs that address the needs of our community’s most vulnerable, and increase access to the care and services they need to achieve optimal health and wellbeing.”

According to the Ohio Department of Health’s 2019 County Health Rankings, Ross County continues to have a lower life expectancy rate at 75.1 years. This is more than two years fewer than Ohio’s average of 77.2 years old, and more than three-and-a-half years below the U.S. average of 78.8 years old. In some cases, life expectancy can vary by nearly 11 years from one Ross County neighborhood to another.

“Through the assessment, our community partners work together to improve health outcomes for Ross Countians,” said Kelly Dennis, Director of Health Promotion at the Ross County Health District. “As we use the data and community input gathered in the assessment, our major focus is on addressing the root causes that lead to poor health outcomes. It is critical that we drive our responses and actions to improve health outcomes in Ross County.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists leading causes of death (rate per 100k) in Ross County to be:

  1. Heart disease                                                  206
  2. Cancer                                                            196
  3. Chronic Lower Respiratory diseases               74
  4. Accidents                                                          76
  5. Stroke                                                                43
  6. Diabetes                                                            34

Mental Health:  Depression/anxiety continues to be a top health issue in the community. Nearly 38 percent of CHNA survey respondents admit to being depressed or anxious, though most do not seek regular treatment for it despite the increase in availability of CBD gummies for anxiety in local stores. Just 10.2 percent say they have visited a mental health specialist, despite Ross County having a higher patient to provider ratio (340:1) than the state average (470:1).

Substance use:  Drug overdose deaths continue to be the leading accidental death cause, according to Ross County death records. Those responding to the CHNA survey show that 61 percent of those who use alcohol earn more than $25k a year, and 35 percent earn less than $25k. People who admit to smoking or using some form of tobacco flip in terms of income, with nearly 42 percent of those earning less than $25k per year saying they regularly use tobacco, compared to 17 percent in the above $25k a year income group.

Obesity, Heart Health, Diabetes:  Physical activity and nutrition play a role in our overall health and wellbeing and are proven to reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Nearly half (49.6%) of all Ross Co CHNA respondents say they eat one serving or less of fruits and vegetables each day; and about 26 percent say they get less than 30 minutes of exercise a week.

Those surveyed self-reported their heart health to be as follows:

  • High Blood Pressure                           39.6%
  • Overweight or obese                          32.5%
  • High cholesterol                                  26.2%
  • Diabetes                                              18.0%
  • Heart disease diagnoses                      5.1%

The CHNA survey was available last fall and earlier this year for residents of communities served by Adena Regional Medical Center. It focused on the respondent’s perception of the health issues facing our communities, as well as their own overall health and conditions. The CHNA must be conducted every three years by all 501(c)(3) hospitals, as required by the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

To view the complete results of the Adena and Partners for a Healthier Ross County 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) visit