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County in the middle in health ranking

Lincoln County’s overall health is right in the middle of the pack compared to the state’s other counties, according to a recent report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The County Health Rankings report shows Lincoln at No. 46 in the state for health outcomes. The data shows no change from the 2018 report, but a big move compared to the 2017 report. That year, Lincoln County ranked 28th in the state.

The county scored worse in the main categories of health factors and health behaviors compared to two years ago. Like the rest of the state, adult obesity is on the rise in Lincoln County. Both the county’s and state’s obesity problem is worse than the nation’s.

Some health behaviors improved, sexually transmitted infections being one of them. The county’s number of cases has decreased overall since 2007, though the lowest number during that time was 473 cases in 2013.

Other factors hurt the county’s overall ranking. The percentage of Medicare patients getting the flu vaccine decreased, and the ratio of population to dentists increased.

The report also shows where the county fared well, ranking No. 19, in “social and economic factors.” Unemployment was on par with the state average, as was income inequality and high school graduation rates. The percentage of children in poverty — 24 — was lower than the state’s average.

The report seeks to show how much health outcomes can vary depending on the county in which you live. Franklin County ranked 25th, Pike ranked 65th, Lawrence came in at 54 and Copiah County was ranked 56.

The top county was Rankin, followed by Madison and DeSoto. The worst-ranked county was Quitman.

“Our country has achieved significant health improvements over the past century,” the report’s authors state. “But when you look closer, there are significant differences in health outcomes according to where we live, how much money we make, or how we are treated. The data show that, in counties everywhere, not everyone has benefited in the same way from these health improvements.”

The report cites racial differences and other factors in the varied health outcomes among counties.

“Health is influenced by a range of factors. Social and economic factors, like connected and supportive communities, good schools, stable jobs and safe neighborhoods, are foundational to achieving long and healthy lives,” the report states. “These social and economic factors also interact with other important drivers of health and health equity. For example, housing that is unaffordable or unstable can either result from poverty or exacerbate it.”

The County Health Rankings report is a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.