Where you live can have a great effect on your health and quality of life. A big part of the YMCA’s mission involves healthy living and wellness so the new county health rankings are important to us.

Because of this mission, we were pleased to see that McPherson County is ranked 8th in health outcomes and 3rd in Health Factors in the state of Kansas in the 2018 County Health Rankings. The health outcomes category includes statistics on things like premature death, percent of people in poor or fair health, mental health,and low birth rate. The health factors category includes many things including percent of smokers, obesity, access to exercise opportunities, alcoholism, STD’s and teen births. It also takes into account factors within clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment.

The County Health Rankings, released every year by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, make it clear that where you live influences how well and how long you live. The local-level data demonstrates that good health is influenced by many factors beyond medical care including housing, education and jobs. Just because McPherson County did well in this year’s rankings doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. This year’s Rankings show meaningful gaps in health persist not only by place, but by race and ethnicity, as well. We need to continue to work together to improve even further.

As you can see there are so many different factors that go into the overall health of our community. This shows how important it is for everyone to work together in order to address all the health issues. Everything from housing and transit, to air and water quality, education, jobs, and access to health insurance and health care all have a hand in the overall wellness of our community. Because the factors are so broad and come from all different sectors, collaboration is even more important.

The report can be found at http://countyhealthrankings.org.

Together, with our partners and the members of our community, the YMCA is committed to ensuring McPherson County continues to be a place that prioritizes health and gives every child and family the opportunity to reach their full potential.