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May 28th, 2014

Dutchess County Releases Annual Community Health Report

POUGHKEEPSIE – The Dutchess County Department of Health released its Annual Community Health Status Report, providing a snapshot of Dutchess County well-being indicators, including the county health rankings data published by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"Dutchess County is one of the healthiest counties in New York State," says, Kari Reiber, MD, Commissioner of Health. "In fact, Dutchess County ranked 9th for overall health factors and 11th for overall health outcomes among all 62 New York State counties according to the 2014 National County Health Rankings."

The County Health Rankings scores the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states. The Rankings allow counties to see how well they are doing based on 25 factors that influence health including smoking, high school graduation rates, employment, physical inactivity, and access to healthy foods. The Rankings provide county-to-county comparisons within a state. This year’s Rankings also feature several new measures including housing, transportation, and access to mental health providers.

Dutchess County’s Annual Community Health Status Report released includes three sections:

A profile of Dutchess County’s community health highlighting selected health indicators within four categories: vulnerable populations, birth measures, leading causes of death and illness, and safety; The results of the 2014 County Health Rankings; and The tracking measures for each of the goals identified in the 2013-2017 Community Health Improvement Plan for Dutchess County.

The Community Health Status Report provides the baseline data for health improvement efforts in an easy to read format. Some noteworthy observations include the following:

County teen pregnancy and birth rates continue to decline;

The prevalence of current smoking has declined to less than 20% in the past 5 years;

Diabetes is the 6th leading cause of death in Dutchess County;

The number of deaths from accidental overdose more than doubled from 24 in 2008 to 63 deaths in 2013;

While Lyme disease is the most widespread of all tick-borne diseases in the County, there are other diseases on the rise that can be transmitted by infected ticks such as Babesiosis.

Through the past three of years, the Dutchess County Department of Health has engaged in a community health improvement planning process to identify specific goals, objectives, and evidence-based strategies to tackle the county’s health challenges. The collaborative process resulted in the 2013-2017 Community Health Improvement Plan which identified four major goals: Reduce Childhood and Adult Obesity; Increase Access to Preventive Healthcare and Improve Management of Chronic Disease; Reduce Tick and Insect-Related Diseases; and Reduce Substance Abuse.

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