SPRINGFIELD — Springfield has been ranked the third worst city in a national survey released last year that calculates the population’s health and wellbeing.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which has been ongoing since 2008, has surveyed one million people in the United States about their behaviors, physical and mental health. Ohio is the seventh worst state in terms of health and wellbeing with a score of 65 as of 2010, according to the survey. Springfield is the third worst city with a score of 61.
“It is a score that comprises scores from six individual sub-indexes, which are: Life Evaluation, Emotional Health, Physical Health, Healthy Behaviors, Work Environment, and Basic Access,” said Elizabeth Mendes, deputy managing editor of Gallup.com in an email. “The overall Well-Being Index score is an average of those six scores.”
Within each score are a number of categories, 12 of which were featured on the Gallup website. Springfield was the worst performer in four of those categories: smoking, happiness, asthma and frequent exercising.
The findings come as no surprise to Charles Patterson, health commissioner for the Clark County Combined Board of Health.
“We’re not proud of it or happy about it,” Patterson said. “We know we rank in the bottom quartile and that’s why we’re doing something across the county.”
Patterson said they have been using a county-administered Youth Risk Behavior Survey to identify and create programming for major issues in the youth populations, such as depression, smoking and drinking and teen pregnancy.
“We’re absolutely seeing a correlation of behaviors and risks in youths and seeing the health outcomes in adults,” Patterson said. “These behaviors are beginning in their youth and showing up in (survey) results.”
The board of health has been working with county schools, the Community Health Foundation, Clark County Ohio State University Extension and other organizations to create programming that will help educate people, Patterson said.
“We have a couple of generations of folks that we have lost somewhere in the shuffle and we have to try to help them and also have to help prevent (poor health and wellbeing) in our youth,” he said.
Current programs include reproductive health programs in schools, classes about nutrition and infant mortality, Patterson said. He also mentioned recent organizations such as the Rocking Horse Community Health Center, which could make a difference in the next few years.
“A lot of good things are happening, it’s just going to take a couple of years to start seeing positive results,” Patterson said.
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