Health rankings report: teen mom rate down, obesity up

Published: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 04:47 PM.

FORT WALTON BEACH — The Florida Department of Health, or DOH, in Okaloosa County has received the fourth annual County Health Rankings and Roadmaps’ data.

These rankings — submitted from University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — serve as a snapshot of the health of individuals across each state’s counties.

In Okaloosa County, there are areas of progress. For example, the rate of births to teen mothers ages 15-19 has decreased over the past three years due in part to outreach of the department’s family planning program, a health department spokesperson said.

However, challenges remain, as the number of obese adults has risen 6 percent over the past four years. The department has collaborated with many stakeholders to implement the Community Health Improvement Plan, which has a focused effort to address physical activity and nutrition resources in our community.

The DOH works to improve Floridians’ health. Data used include information related to physical environment, social and economic factors, health behaviors, education, crime rate, law enforcement and clinical care.

The rankings include a snapshot of each Florida county, with a color-coded map comparing each county’s overall health ranking.

"Health knows no boundaries,” Dr. Karen Chapman, director of the Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County, said. “While ... (the) report presents county level rankings, we realize that promoting optimal health involves a broad spectrum of partners in government, education, business and civic organizations that are not necessarily limited geographically."

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