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Report: Polk County still struggling with health issues | Health

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Report: Polk County still struggling with health issues
Report: Polk County still struggling with health issues

Bartow, Florida- As Polk County works to improve overall health of residents, an annual snapshot suggests we still have a long way to go.

10 News reported on the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's release of the fourth annual County Health Rankings & Roadmaps tool, and Polk Health reps have offered insight on how they plan to make improvements. 

A quick summary of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps tool, and where Polk County stands

The rankings measure the health of individuals in counties
across the state and nation. 

Among the other 67 county health departments in Florida, Polk County ranked 30th in "health outcomes"- measured in terms of low birth rate, premature death rate, and other factors.

As for "health factors", Polk ranked 43rd. "Health factors" are a measure of our healthy behaviors, access to clinical care, social and economic factors, and our physical environment. 

Both rankings are similar to how Polk ranked last year.

Polk County responds

"The Florida Department of Health in Polk is committed to working with our community partners on shared goals to improve health", said Dr. Ulyee Choe, Interim Director of the Health Department. 

"Community groups such as Polk Vision, the Healthy Start Coalition's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Alliance, and Tobacco Free Polk, to name just a few, work year-round to implement strategies to address disparities in the health of Polk County residents."

Polk County started a new initiative this year to reduce the obesity rate in an attempt to bring it below the state average. 

Obesity is a risk factor for chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, which are major causes of death and preventable hospitals stays for the residents of Polk.

According to Sara Roberts, Executive Director of Polk Vision, Inc., this is a broad initiative, focusing efforts on six areas: 


  • School-based
  • Neighborhood/community-based
  • Primary care physicians
  • Worksite-based
  • Higher education
  • Communication

"Workgroups are putting into action strategies to encourage
healthy habits among our residents. Health is everyone's business. We encourage individuals, schools, workplaces, and communities to make a commitment to improve the quality of life in Polk County."

A link to the complete County Health Rankings report can be found on the Data and Reports page of the Florida Department of Health in Polk's website, at www.mypolkhealth.org.


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