The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, May. 20, 2022

Health assessment adult results released

Editor’s note: This is the second in a three-part series detailing results from the Van Wert County Community Health Assessment that was released on Wednesday. This portion deals with findings from the adult section of the assessment.

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

With nearly three-quarters of Van Wert County adults either overweight or obese, it’s perhaps not surprising that only a little more than half of adult county residents rate their health as excellent or very good. Approximately 72 percent of county residents were rated as either overweight (37 percent) or obese (35 percent). That compares to 67 percent of Ohioans (34 percent overweight, 33 percent obese) and 65 percent of Americans (35 percent overweight, 30 percent obese) in those categories.

Britney Ward, director of community health improvement for the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio, speaks during Wednesday's health assessment presentation. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)
Britney Ward, director of community health improvement for the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio, speaks during Wednesday’s health assessment presentation. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

According to Brittany Ward, director of community health for the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio, it’s a health concern that is mirrored in the other northwest Ohio communities her organization represents.

“This is something we see all across northwest Ohio,” Ward noted.

A total of 51 percent of Van Wert County adults surveyed said their health was excellent or very good, while, of the 49 percent who don’t feel that way, only 14 percent listed their health as fair or poor. Both responses mirror state and national trends, with 51 percent of Ohioans and 53 percent nationwide stating that their health is excellent or very good, while 18 percent of Ohioans and 17 percent of Americans list their health as fair or poor.

Moreover, Van Wert County residents are either not complainers and have more good health days than the average. County residents said they only had 2.7 days in the past month where their physical health was not good, and 2.6 days where their mental health was not good. That compares to the Ohio average of 3.9 days for both physical and mental health, and 3.7 days for physical health and 3.5 days for mental health among all Americans.

County residents were also polled about their health coverage, with 11 percent stating they were uninsured. Not surprisingly, that percentage rises to 24 percent of those whose income is less than $25,000 a year. The county’s uninsured number compares to 10 percent of Ohioans, and 13 percent of all Americans.

Of those with insurance, approximately 36 percent of county adults ages 19-64 are covered by Medicaid, while only 7 percent of those 65 and over are, mostly because that’s when Medicare kicks in. Statewide, 38 percent of Ohioans are on Medicaid.

Van Wert County’s aging population — county residents are the oldest in the state, on average — also has some effect on the type of illnesses seen in the county. One area affected is the incidence of arthritis, with 36 percent of county adults noting they had arthritis, versus 31 percent of all Ohioans, and 26 percent of all Americans.

County adults diagnosed with diabetes was at 10 percent, compared to 12 percent of Ohioans and 10 percent of all Americans. The percentage of county adults with asthma (12 percent) was lower than either the state (15 percent) or national (14 percent) average.

Heart disease figures were close to the state and national averages, while those with high blood pressure (31 percent) were lower than the state average and right at the national average, and those with high blood cholesterol were a bit higher (39 percent) than either the state or national averages (both at 38 percent).

Alcohol consumption in the county mirrored state and national trends. Fifty-three percent of county adults had at least one drink in the past month the same as both the state and national average while 18 percent of county adults binged (had five or more drinks in a couple of hours), versus 18 percent of Ohioans and 17 percent of Americans as a whole.

Tobacco use among county adults was lower than either the state or national average, with just 14 percent of county adult residents characterized as smokers, while another 21 percent said they had smoked 100 cigarettes or more in their lifetime, but quit smoking). The state average for smokers is 21 percent, with 25 percent saying they did smoke, but quit, while 19 percent of American adults said they were smokers, and another 25 percent saying they had quit.

County residents also did reasonably well in seeking preventive medical care — especially older county adults — with 70 percent of county adults 65 or older saying they had a pneumonia vaccine shot, which mirrors both the state and national average. Three-quarters of county adults 65 and older have had a flu vaccine shot, versus just 56 percent of Ohioans and 61 percent of all Americans. Only 18 percent of county adults have had a shingles/zoster vaccine shot, versus 21 percent of Ohioans and 22 percent of Americans, but 78 percent of female county residents 40 years of age or older have had a mammogram in the past two years. That compares to 72 percent of Ohio women, and 73 percent of American women in the same age group. County women who had a pap smear in the past three years was lower than either the state or national average, with 71 percent of county women having the procedure, versus 74 percent of Ohio women and 75 percent of American women.

County adults take better care of their teeth, compared to other Ohioans and Americans, with 72 percent saying they had been to the dentist in the past year, versus 65 percent of Ohioans and Americans as a whole.

Overall, though, quality of life in Van Wert County is about average, with only 21 percent of county residents saying they were limited in some way by a physical, mental, or emotional problem. That compares to 22 percent of Ohioans, and 20 percent of Americans as a whole.

Tomorrow: The health assessment for those under the age of 18 shows some surprising results.

POSTED: 04/29/16 at 8:40 am. FILED UNDER: News