Mower’s standing in health rankings remains unchanged

Published 7:52 am Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Mower County was static in an annual health report.

For the second straight year, Mower County ranked 53rd in the annual County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, which also ranked Mower 76th in health factors — down from 78th last year.

Mower ranked 41st in Length of Life, 65th in Quality of Life, 68th in Social & Economic Factors and 78th in Physical Environment.

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The county ranked 78th in health factors — down from 73 last year — which factors health behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment. Mower’s Clinical Care score — which in effect measures how well residents can access care — improved from 73rd to 60th.

However, there are fewer physicians, mental health providers and dentists per capita than the Minnesota average. Mower had one doctor per 1,970 residents, compared to the state average of one per 1,100 residents. Mower had one dentist per every 2,170 residents, compared to the state average of one per 1,480 residents.

The county had one mental health provider per 1,000 residents, while the state averages one per 510 residents.

The county also showed some social and economic challenges. About 77 percent of Mower’s residents graduated high school, which trailed the state average of 83 percent. The county’s 62 percent of residents with some college trailed the state’s 74 percent.

Mower also has 16 percent of children in poverty compared to the state average of 13 percent. The county also had 37 percent of children in single-parent households, which was higher than the state average of 28 percent.

Premature deaths on the rise?

Nationwide, the study showed premature deaths on the rise with 1.2 million people dying prematurely in 2015 — 39,700 more than in 2014.

The premature death rates have risen since 2012, and drug overdoses influenced the rise, the report stated.

“Drug overdose was by far the single leading cause of premature death by injury in 2015 and contributed to the accelerated rise in premature death from 2014 to 2015,” a report summary stated.

Mower County lost an estimated 5,400 years of potential life before age 75 when adjusted for 100,000, while the state averaged 5,100 years.

Rural counties continue having the highest premature death rates, followed by smaller metro areas, the report found.

This was the eighth year the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute has published the County Health Rankings report.

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