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Florida Department of Health Palm Beach County Addresses Health Rankings

By Public Health Communicatiions

March 29, 2017

Palm Beach County, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County recognizes the value in measuring health outcomes and today acknowledged the 2017 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps tool released by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This study highlights the many community factors that influence health and uses established data, much of which is available from the department at www.FLHealthCHARTS.com.

“These rankings are a testament to the hard work and commitment our community partners have toward assuring a healthy community,” said Dr. Alina Alonso, Director, Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County.

These rankings are a snapshot of the health of counties across the country and they emphasize that health is not a singular effort but a combined work in progress across all community partners. The department works in collaboration with local governments, non-profit organizations, health care facilities, business groups, schools, faith-based organizations and many other stakeholders to improve the health of all people in Palm Beach County. These rankings use data related to physical environments, social and economic factors, health behaviors and clinical care.

In Palm Beach County, the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) is designed to address specific opportunities for improved health that have been identified by the community. The department has partnered with many stakeholders to implement the CHIP and collaborates regularly to track progress.

During the past four years, the CHIP has contributed to success in several  areas that improved the health in our community, including  reducing the percentage of youth who drank one or more sodas (sugary drinks) per day from 24.6% to 15.6% reducing the number of youth watching more than two hours of television from 38% to 26%; increasing the percentage of WIC infants being breastfed from 71% to 81%, and reducing the consumption of alcohol among middle and high school students from 37% to 25%.  Additionally, the county’s uninsured rate dropped from 16.3% to 13.1%.

The Health Rankings have also identified areas to consider during the current CHIP cycle. They include reducing sexually transmitted diseases, continued improvement for those without health insurance, and improving health equity.

“We at Palm Healthcare Foundation are proud to be a partner in the improved health and wellbeing of our community. The many initiatives that we lead like Let’s Move, Diabetes Month and Healthier Together encourage Palm Beach County residents to integrate healthy behaviors into their daily lives. We have already witnessed positive results,” said Patrick McNamara, President and CEO of Palm Healthcare Foundation, Inc.

The 2017 County Health Rankings in Florida demonstrate that Palm Beach County has now improved to eighth in Health Outcomes (How healthy our county currently is) and seventh in Health Factors (how healthy our county might be in the future based on the many factors that influence health).  Palm Beach County continues to be a leader among the 67 Florida counties and continues to rank highest among all large population counties of one million or more people.

 Last week the Florida Department of Health celebrated a one year milestone as the first integrated department of health in the nation to achieve national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board. Public health departments play a critical role in protecting and improving the health of people and communities. The seal of accreditation signifies that the Florida Department of Health has been rigorously examined and meets or exceeds national standards that promote continuous quality improvement for public health.

 About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.

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