YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The University of Wisconsin released some numbers on Wednesday, ranking Mahoning and Trumbull counties in the bottom 15 of Ohio’s 88 counties when it comes to health.
The rankings take into account health behaviors like obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption and activity levels. It also takes into consideration the number of uninsured residents, education levels and availability of physicians.
Overall, Trumbull County ranked 76th out of 88 counties and Mahoning ranked 73rd. Columbiana County fared a little better, coming in at 49th out of 88.
The health commissioners for Mahoning and Columbiana counties said it’s not so much about the ranking, but more about using this data to identify problems and come up with solutions to fix them.
“We’ve known for quite some time. This isn’t a new number. We’ve bounced around the 70s since they started doing the health rankings,” said Mahoning County Health Commissioner Patricia Sweeney.
For the risky behavior category, including excessive drinking, smoking and obesity, Trumbull County ranked 65 out of 88 and was above average in all categories. Mahoning County also was above average in the categories selected. They ranked 53rd out of 88.
The data has shown in our area that those are critical health problems, those are our priorities we need to address,” Sweeney said.
For Columbiana County, the ranking was 50 out of 88 on the health behaviors category, but was also above average on the unhealthy behaviors.
“We think some of our great benefits and some of our success in Columbiana County is due to community partnering,” said Columbiana County Health Commissioner Wesley Vins.
Officials in all three counties said they continue to work toward a healthier Mahoning Valley, using the findings as a tool.
“All those health behaviors like healthy eating, reducing smoking, reducing obesity, all of those help build a healthier tomorrow and that’s where we need to focus,” Sweeney said.
In neighboring Pennsylvania, Mercer County ranked 48th out of 67 counties and Lawrence County was 58th.
To view the study, click here.