Monday, March 25, 2013

Fayette County Among the Unhealthiest Counties in the State

Please, hide your surprise. But yes, we are one of the state's unhealthiest counties.
The report released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute evaluated Pennsylvania's 67 counties on more than two dozen factors the researchers believe influence a person's health. They include individual healthy behavior markers such as obesity and smoking, as well as social and economic factors like education, violent crime, health care access, family support, education and unemployment.
So I think we all know what's coming.
The report ranks the five unhealthiest counties as Philadelphia, Fayette, Greene, Sullivan and Forest, which fare worse than state averages in child poverty, single-parent households, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.
32% of our kids live in poverty, compared to the 19% statewide average. 72% have graduated high school.

For the millionth time, Fayette County has loads of problems. Many are related and impact each other, so some get solved but most don't. Are our elected officials actually trying, or are they focusing on other things, like masking the problem with pretty trucks? Will those making a run for office, like this promising Connellsville mayoral hopeful, do what they say they're going to do?

New businesses and the arts and farmer's markets are all good things that are pushing us toward progress, but we still need to work on the bigger issues--poverty, drugs, teen pregnancy, violent crime, domestic abuse.

The good news? We don't top the STD list. The teen-pregnancy rate is pretty high, though, and tomorrow we'll talk about that using some anecdotes from my brother's college class in human sexuality, in which his Fayettenamese peers know little to nothing. Stand tall, stand proud.

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