Three steps forward, one step back

The seventh annual County Health Rankings were released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The 2016 indicates Scioto County improved in Health Outcomes by three spots and fell one spot in Health Factors.

The county health rankings are considered a snapshot on the health of nearly every county in the United States.

When compared to the other 87 counties in Ohio, Scioto ranked 83rd in Health Outcomes and 87th in “Health Factors.”

The 2015 County Health Rankings showed that Scioto County moved up in “Health Outcomes” from 88th in 2014 to 86th in 2015. Scioto remained ranked 86th in Health Factors.

Regina Tipton, Coordinator of the Scioto County Health Coalition, expressed joy over the ranking data.

“If you break them down and look at everything, there are certain things we know we’ve always had to work on and health behaviors is one of those,” Tipton said.

Wendi Waugh, Administrative Director of SOMC Cancer Services and Community Health and Wellness, said she’s optimistic about the new rankings.

“Our health outcomes have improved, I really thought our health factors would have moved more than our health outcomes,” Waugh said.

After first seeing the data, Waugh said she was surprised, in a positive way.

“Our smoking rate has decreased, our problem is obesity. Our access to exercise improved from 2015 when it was 88 percent and is now 91 percent,” Waugh said.

The rankings show 25 percent of Scioto County adults smoke, while the national average is 14 percent and the Ohio average is 19 percent.

The rankings show 36 percent of adults in Scioto County are considered obese. The rankings also show 30 percent of adults in Scioto County are physically inactive.

When it comes to access to exercise opportunities, 91 percent of adults in Scioto County report they have access.

Waugh has been telling the community that sitting is the new smoking.

“Sitting is the new smoking and we have to take it as seriously as we’ve taken tobacco and implement change,” Waugh said.

Tipton said this ranking vindicates the work of the Scioto County Health Coalition.

“Our partnerships have been wonderful and have contributed to this, tremendously. If this does not show our community what we’re doing is helping to make Scioto County healthier both physically and economically, then I’m not sure what else we need to do,” Tipton said.

Although the rankings have improved, both Tipton and Waugh say there’s a lot more work to do.

“We could be number one and we would still have a lot of work to do. We still have a whole lot of climbing to do, but we’re going in the right direction and that makes me extremely happy,” Tipton said. “Without our partnerships we could not do this. It takes more than one organization to affect change and that’s what the coalition and its partners are doing. We’re working together to affect this change.”

In “Health Factors” Pike County is ranked 88th, Adams 86th, Jackson 84th and Lawrence County 76th. In “Health Outcomes” Jackson is ranked 84th, Lawrence 82nd, Adams 87th and Pike 88th.

For more information about the Scioto County Health Coalition, visit them on Facebook.

For a more detailed description of Scioto County’s health rankings visit,

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT