Decatur’s snapshot of health

Published 8:52 am Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Decatur County’s overall community health is not stellar, nor is it rock bottom, according to a study being released Wednesday.

In a summary of health factors such as premature deaths, smoking, obesity, uninsured adults and other factors, Decatur County ranks 84 in Georgia out of 157 counties.

The county-by-county study was conducted by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Email newsletter signup

In Georgia, Fayette County is ranked No. 1, and Quitman was ranked the lowest overall.

According to this year’s rankings, the 10 healthiest counties in Georgia, starting with most healthy, are Fayette, Oconee, Forsyth, Cobb, Gwinnett, Cherokee, Columbia, Morgan, Henry and Hall. The 10 counties in the poorest health, starting with least healthy, are Quitman, Calhoun, Talbot, Terrell, Randolph, Hancock, Taylor, Crisp, Stewart and Telfair.

Health outcomes represent how healthy a county is while health factors are what influences the health of the county.

For outcomes, Decatur County is 84, Miller is 50, Grady is 103, Seminole is 129 and Early is 138.

For health factors, Decatur County is 101, Seminole is 107, Grady is 121, Early is 124 and Miller is 62.

Health outcomes

The summary health outcomes ranking is based on measures of mortality and morbidity.

The mortality rank, representing length of life, is based on a measure of premature death: The years of potential life lost prior to age 75. The southwest corner of Georgia is in the lowest middle of the pack—not high, but not the bottom either.

Decatur County is ranked 82, with Miller County two slots ahead, 80. Early County is ranked 101, Seminole is 135 and Grady County is 112.

The morbidity rank is based on measures that represent health-related quality of life and birth outcomes. The study combined four morbidity measures: Self-reported fair or poor health, poor physical health days, poor mental health days, and the percent of births with low birthweight.

Miller County ranked in the upper quarter of this ranking, coming in at 21. However, in this ranking, Early County falls near the bottom, ranking 154.

Decatur County is ranked 99, Seminole is 106 and Grady is 94.

Health factors rankings

The summary health factors ranking is based on four factors: Health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic, and physical environment factors. In turn, each of these factors is based on several measures. Health behaviors include measures of smoking, diet and exercise, alcohol use, and risky sex behavior.

Decatur County is near the bottom, ranking 109. Seminole County is 90, Miller is 95, Early is 113 and Grady is 116.

Clinical care includes measures of access to care and quality of care. Decatur County is 42, Miller is 81, Grady is 108, Early is 90 and Seminole is 65.

Social and economic factors include measures of education, employment, income, family and social support, and community safety.

In this column, Miller County did well, ranking 38. Seminole County is ranked 105, Decatur is 110, Early is 121 and Grady is 102.

The physical environment includes measures of environmental quality and the built environment.

Decatur County is ranked 97, Miller is 118, Seminole is 144, Early is 126 and Grady is 138.

View all the county-by-county health statistics at