2015 News Releases

Department of Behavioral & Community Health

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April 10, 2015        Print version


Dutchess County releases its Annual Community Health Status Report
Dutchess Ranks in the Top 10 Healthiest Counties in New York State in 2015

Poughkeepsie…The Dutchess County Department of Health released its Annual Community Health Status Report, providing new data on the health and well-being of Dutchess residents, including the latest county health rankings published by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“Once again, Dutchess County ranks among the 10 healthiest counties in New York State,” says Kari Reiber, MD, Commissioner of Health. 

The County Health Rankings score the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states. The Rankings allow counties to see how well they are doing based on length of life and quality of life, as well as 30 factors that influence health such as income, health insurance, smoking, physical activity, health screenings, and access to healthy foods.

The annual Community Health Status Report provides a more detailed look at recent trends in Dutchess County for a broad range of health outcomes and risk factors.  The most current year of available data varies by source.  Highlights from this year’s report include:

• The proportion of residents without health insurance fell to 7.3% in 2013;
• Hospitalization rates for heart disease, the leading cause of death in Dutchess County and New York State, steadily declined from 2008-2012;
• The Expanded Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey estimated the prevalences of current smoking and obesity among adults to be lower in 2013-2014 than in 2008-2009, though both differences were within the margin of error.
• Complete blood lead screening rates by three years of age improved among Dutchess County children, from 52.1% of children born in 2007 to 60.5% of children born in 2009.

The report also identifies the following challenges:

• Heroin and opioids continue to play a large role in overdose deaths;
• While teen pregnancy and birth rates continue to decline, the rates of sexually transmitted diseases have increased regionally and across New York State;
• Emergency department visits and hospitalizations for intentional self-harm increased substantially in Dutchess County from 2010-2013;
• Lyme disease remains more than twice as common among Dutchess residents compared with the rest of New York State.  Anaplasmosis and babesiosis, also transmitted by ticks, are more than five times more common in Dutchess County.

Over the past year, the Dutchess County Department of Health has engaged in multiple efforts to tackle the county’s leading health challenges identified in the 2013-2017 Community Health Improvement Plan released last May.  The goals of the Plan are to 1) reduce childhood and adult obesity, 2) increase access to preventive health care and improve the management of chronic disease, 3) reduce tick and insect-related diseases, and 4) reduce substance abuse.

“We are continuing to engage with community partners to raise awareness of the opioid epidemic and identify strategies to prevent the tragic loss of life to heroin and other substances,” said Commissioner Reiber.  “We have also been working closely with local and regional stakeholders to share best practices in preventing and treating tick-borne diseases.  As temperatures get warmer, it is important to remember to check for ticks when you spend time outdoors in grassy or wooded areas.” 

“We are moving forward in our mission to make Dutchess County the healthiest county in New York State,” said County Executive Marcus Molinaro.  “We are seeing promising trends in the fight against chronic diseases, but we need to keep up the good work to promote healthy lifestyles and access to good nutrition for all residents.”  Mr. Molinaro continued, “This year’s report also underscores the importance of the work we are doing to integrate health and mental hygiene services into the new Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health.  This major endeavor will bring unprecedented opportunities for us to connect the physical and mental health needs of Dutchess residents.”

The Health Status Report can be found on the County website at: www.DutchessNY.gov/Health*

*http://www.co.dutchess.ny.us/CountyGov/Departments/Health/Publications/HD2015CommunityHealthStatusReport.pdf

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A. K. Vaidian, MD, MPH,Commissioner of Behavioral & Community Health A. K. Vaidian, MD, MPH
Commissioner of Behavioral & Community Health
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