The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

May 3, 2013

LEVINE: Health issues still a concern for residents

The health of Clinton County residents represented a mixed bag in the annual county rankings.

On one hand, the county is making progress in health outcomes. On the other, the county is declining in health factors. The numbers aren’t great on either end, with an 86 ranking on health outcomes and 92 ranking on health factors. That’s measured against 98 other counties in Iowa.

It seems like this has been an ongoing tune for the last four years but there’s still plenty of work to do. But like anything, progress takes time.

Too often in today’s society, we expect changes overnight. If something isn’t correct right now, then the whole process needs to start over from scratch. That results in knee-jerk reactions, and in cases that I’ve seen that implemented, whether in health, sports or business, it doesn’t help.

Much like a quarterback that may need an extra year to develop, plans to change attitudes regarding health take time. And that’s happening on a county level.

Altering someone’s attitude about a particular subject requires education. Luckily, the county has many resources available for residents, thanks in large part to a group that recently changed its name to Let’s Live Healthy! Clinton. This group was formerly the Blue Zones committee that attempted to increase awareness of making healthy choices.

But this committee has only been around for a few years. It needs time to make a real difference, and I’m confident these rankings will get better.

And so far, since 2010, health outcomes have gotten better.

The county ranked 86th in health outcomes in 2013, better than the 93rd ranking in 2012 and 2010. This statistic measures mortality and morbidity.

Residents are above the averages for the state of Iowa in those categories, but those numbers are consistently getting better.

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With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

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