Health department official addresses county ranking

Published: Friday, March 28, 2014 at 08:30 AM.

Okaloosa County ranks 19th for Health Outcomes and 10th for Health Factors in Florida, according to the 5th Annual County Health Rankings & Roadmaps tool released by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Okaloosa's overall health status remains among that for top Florida counties, but rankings have declined over the years. In 2010, Okaloosa was ranked ninth in the state for Health Outcomes and third for Health Factors.

Twenty-two percent of local adults are smokers, compared to the state average of 18 percent. Twenty-nine percent of Okaloosa adults are obese, compared to 24 percent in 2010.

“Sadly, Okaloosa County residents are more likely to die from cancer, chronic lung disease, stroke and coronary heart disease than residents who live in the top four ranking counties,” said Karen A. Chapman, director of The Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County. “Part of our decline in rankings is due to the fact that 16 of the 18 counties ranking above us have seen a reduction in the number of adult smokers over the last five years, while Okaloosa has remained stagnant.”

The health department collaborates with local governments, non-profit organizations, health care facilities, business groups, schools, faith-based organizations and other stakeholders to improve Okaloosa residents' health.

The Community Health Improvement Plan addresses specific opportunities for improved health.

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