Washington County ranks 65th in healthy residents

Published: Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 01:03 PM.

Of the eight counties, Calhoun County followed Washington County with an obesity rate of 34 percent, followed by Jackson at 33 percent.

Income and availability of healthy food can be a factor. Thirty-four percent of the children in Washington County live in poverty, compared to 25 percent statewide and 23 percent in Bay County. Meanwhile, 52 percent of Washington County’s restaurants are fast-food joints, compared with 44 percent statewide and 42 percent in Bay County.

 

Socioeconomic factors

For the state, 71 percent of high schoolers graduated in four years, while 59 percent of adults had “some college.” But, that was better than Washington County, with its 69 percent high school graduation rate and 42 percent “some college” rate. Bay County had a graduation rate of 68 percent and “some college” rate of 59 percent.

Davis also said Washington County needs to improve its “personal health education and responsibility.” He feels the problem is institutionalized in rural counties and there is little health departments can do. He said they can’t force people to live healthier, more responsible lives.

“We try to educate, but this is a democracy. I cannot force you to not eat a piece of fried chicken. If you want to go out back and smoke, that’s between you and your employer,” he said. “I can’t force you to not smoke, and I can’t force you to exercise.”



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