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Lincoln ranked in bottom third of Ky counties for health outcomes

STANFORD — Lincoln County lands in the bottom third of Kentucky counties when it comes to health, according to annual County Health Rankings released earlier this month.

The County Health Rankings are released each year by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute; they measure Kentucky’s 120 counties based on an assessment of health outcomes and overall health factors.

The “Health outcomes” category measures length of life and quality of life, while the “health factors” category is broken down into four areas, including health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment.

Lincoln was ranked 78th out of the state’s 120 counties for health factors such as physical inactivity, unemployment, education and physical environment; and 86th for health outcomes, or length and quality of life.

In Lincoln County, the leading cause of death under the age of 75, according to the data, is malignant neoplasms (abnormal growth of cancerous cells), followed by diseases of the heart, accidents (unintentional injuries), chronic lower respiratory diseases and intentional self-harm (suicide).

The premature death rate is measured as the years of potential life lost before age 75. From 2014 to 2016, Lincoln County residents lost an estimated 10,700 years of life per 100,000 people.

Oldham County, the healthiest county in Kentucky according to this year’s rankings, lost an estimated 4,900 years per 100,000 people. Breathitt County, the least healthy county in the state, lost 17,000 potential years.

Lincoln County health highlights from the county rankings include:

• 23 percent of adults in Lincoln County were smokers in 2016 and 23 percent of adults reported having “poor” or “fair” health the same year.

• The obesity rate has risen from 27 percent in 2004 to 34 percent in 2014.

• The percentage of the population under age 65 without health insurance has steadily declined in Lincoln County. The percentage of uninsured residents fell from 18 percent in 2008 to 8 percent in 2015.

• The high school graduation rate improved from 90 percent in 2012-13 to 95 percent in 2014-15.

• The percentage of Lincoln County children living in poverty has slowly risen from 26 percent in 2002 to 32 percent in 2016.

Lincoln County received it’s best health ranking in 2016, when it was ranked 71st out of the state’s 120 counties. Since 2011, it has remained in the lower- to mid-80’s in ranking.

Surrounding counties’ rankings for health outcomes and health factors: 

• Boyle County – 16th, 12th;

• Casey County – 96th, 97th;

• Garrard County – 39th, 38th;

• Rockcastle County – 88th, 83rd; and

• Pulaski County – 61st, 60th.

SO YOU KNOW

To learn more about Lincoln County’s health rankings, or other counties, visit www.countyhealthrankings.org.