CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – Today, Linn County Board of Supervisors and Board of Health release The Health of Linn County, IA: A County-wide Assessment of Health Status and Health Risks. This comprehensive report is the first of its kind for the county and unique in Iowa. The report’s purpose is to provide an overview of different health conditions and diseases in Linn County. The report also provides comparisons to state and national data. Pramod Dwivedi, Health Director at LCPH, says “This is a profoundly rich document with lots of meaningful information, and I hope the public and other agencies will use the information and data for prioritization, policy making, managing programs, allocating resources, developing budgets, and writing grants.”
Cancer is the leading cause of death in Linn County, followed by heart disease. Compared to Iowa and the United States, many of Linn County’s health outcomes were better, including life expectancy, but the benefits were not shared equally among all Linn County residents. Many different health disparities adversely affect certain groups of residents; these disparities are identified throughout the report. Other major findings for Linn County include:
• Obesity, diabetes, and asthma prevalence has been increasing.
• Sexually transmitted diseases account for the greatest proportion of reportable infectious diseases.
• Teen births have significantly declined from 2009 to 2012.
• The unintentional injury death rate has been increasing, especially deaths due to poisoning and falls.
• Suicide rates rose from 2008 to 2011.
• Medical facilities and physicians are available in Linn County, but residents in rural areas have less access to services.
• The outdoor ambient air quality has improved over the past 5 years.
The report consists of 10 chapters and covers a wide array of topics, from chronic diseases to injury and violence, from environmental health to infectious diseases. Throughout the report, social determinants of health are identified. Social determinants are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age. Social determinants can have a major effect on health – for example, if a resident has access to healthy fruits and vegetables or feels safe being physically active in their neighborhood.
The health report is available on LCPH’s website at http://bit.ly/HealthofLinnCounty.