Benton County Tops Another Chart

RunnerResults for 2015 are in, and Benton County ranked first place in Oregon for Health Factors, as reported by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. Factors involve behaviors, clinical treatment and services, as well as aspects of our social and economic environments.

Behavior-wise, no progress was noted concerning adult obesity and physical inactivity, affecting, respectively, 21% and 15% of our population, yet access to exercise abounds at 88% and our healthy food environment ranks 7.2 on a 10-point index.

Death by injury is reported at 42 per 100,000 residents and violent crime is less present than before, with 116 reported offenses. Heavy drinking and smoking populations are represented in the tenth percentile and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are on the rise, with 392 cases of chlamydia diagnosed per 100,000 of our county’s population. Aw, we’re so college, you guys. Remember, symptoms of chlamydia often don’t show, so the numbers here may be erroneous. Concerned? Take advantage of our 413 doctors within city limits or 16 hospitals within a 60-mile radius.

For every Benton County primary care physician, there is a city population of 786—for every dentist, 1,604, and 172 per mental health provider. There were 28 preventable hospital stays reported per 1,000 Medicare enrollees, and diabetic monitoring and mammography screening is worsening for enrollees, ages 65 and over.

Housing remains an issue, with 22% of our county’s households too close-quartered or missing luxuries like having a kitchen. Most concerning is child poverty being on the rise, with 15% of our county’s youth reported as living in extreme need. The high school graduation rate is at 70%, and 80.5% of adults aged 25 to 44 were recipients of a college education, perhaps alongside memories of that one time they got chlamydia. Relief may arise via social outlets—Clams Anonymous?—as there are 12.8 memberships to social organizations per 100,000 Benton County citizens.

Air quality is on the rise, with an average daily density of 8.6 fine particulate matter in microorganisms per cubic meter (PM2.5), which is good, apparently. As for water, only 7% of the population is predicted to have been exposed to contaminants and only two households with corroded plumbing systems were exposed to levels of lead beyond regulated standards. This was reported in Benton County’s 2015 Water Quality Report. The report noted a total increase in water usage for 2014, but a decrease per household, suggesting a communal conservation effort.

As for health outcomes, Benton County ranked third out of Oregon’s 34 considered counties. Per 100,000 citizens, 4,713 lives were lost prematurely, before the age of 75. Our living, however, enjoy a high quality of life, as only 11% of Benton County adults are reported as having poor or fair health, as well as 3.3 poor physical health days and 2.9 poor mental health days within a 30-day period.

 As for our future health, the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition is tackling local economic growth with its new Eat 40% (local) challenge, offering pledgees local food e-newsletters and online resources, encouraging investment in local produce to keep our farmhands productive. Other recent accomplishments include the Benton County Sustainability Policy, mandating protection and preservation of local resources, the installment of a 40-yard waste compactor, which granted various dumpster removals and thus less pickups, the Avery Complex Rain Garden Collaboration, a stormwater treatment system, and lastly, the DEQ School Lab Cleanup program, which removed 340 gallons of potentially hazardous chemicals from schools.

By Stevie Beiswanger

Be Sociable, Share!