Kannapolis, N.C. – The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released the 2015 County Health Rankings today. Cabarrus County moved up two spots from 9 to 7 in the ranking of Overall Health Outcomes in the state of North Carolina.
The annual County Health Rankings measure vital health factors in nearly every county in America. The annual rankings provide a revealing snapshot of how health is influenced by where we live, learn, work and play. They provide a starting point for change in communities.
Cabarrus County made improvements in many areas since the 2014 report:
- longer length of life, rank improved from 11 to 7
- a decrease in adult obesity rates, 31% improved to 29%
- increased access to physical activity locations, 70% improved to 79%
- improved health provider ratio, 1,120:1 to 1,085:1
- a decrease in the unemployment rate, 8.8% improved to 7.4%
- a decrease in our violent crime rate, 150 improved to 123
Areas in which Cabarrus County falls slightly behind other counties include:
- the food environment index, 7.5 fell to 7.3 (limited access to healthy foods and food insecurity; 0 worst and 10 best)
- severe housing problems, 13% rose to 15%
- driving alone with a long commute, 84% remained high at 83%
“Our community has put significant effort into becoming a healthier place to live so I am happy to see this recognized in the rankings,” stated Dr. William Pilkington, CEO and Public Health Director, Cabarrus Health Alliance.
“One of our recent grant awards, REACH, focuses on access to nutritious foods in places such as in convenience and corner stores. This is an area where we still lack. I’m hopeful this type of initiative will help propel us towards even greater improvement. I feel we are certainly focusing in on the right areas. As new businesses, such as Alevo and Amazon, continue to hire and locate to our area, we hope to see the long commute data improve as our residents are moving into those roles,” Pilkington finished.
Two new measures included in this report are income inequality and social associations. A higher inequality ratio indicates a greater division between the top and bottom ends of the income spectrum.
The social association measure highlights the importance of extracurricular activities for youth, activity programs for older adults, and involvement in faith-based activities, sports, and other membership-based organizations. Research shows that people living in social isolation have a similar health risk to that of cigarette smoking, while people who have a sense of belonging tend to make healthier lifestyle choices.
About the Program: The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
About the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps:
The annual County Health Rankings measure vital health factors, including high school graduation rates, obesity, smoking, unemployment, access to healthy foods, the quality of air and water, income, and teen births in nearly every county in America.
About Cabarrus Health Alliance: Cabarrus Health Alliance is the public health authority of Cabarrus County. Cabarrus Health Alliance is an autonomous organization and provider of services and programs designed to meet the needs of public health. Cabarrus Health Alliance is a leader in public health and nationally recognized for its innovation.
Erin K. Shoe, MPH
Human Resources & Community Relations Director
Cabarrus Health Alliance
300 Mooresville Road
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28081
Office: (704) 920-1345
Cell: (704) 467-1950
Fax: (704) 920-1002