For the fourth year in a row Peoria County ranks in the lower half for overall health. A number of factors contribute to Peoria’s mediocre scores and they have officials in the county health department searching for solutions.
Peoria County is the 66th healthiest county out of 102 in Illinois according to the 2013 County Health Rankings report. The report analyzes a number of health factors to determine overall rankings. Peoria finished 78th in the health behaviors category. This factors in behaviors like smoking, obesity and sexually transmitted diseases. Peoria County reported more than double the state average of STDs in 2013.
Greg Chance is a Public Health Administrator at the Peoria City/County Health Department. Chance says the only way to improve these rankings is a comprehensive, community approach.
“There’s a role for the family, there’s a role for the faith community, there’s a role for the healthcare community including the health department and lets not forget schools lets not forget other non -for-profit organizations,” says Chance. “And this is not just an issue in our youth but its also an issue in our young adults, age group anywhere from 21 to 35.”
Chance says it may take two to three years for any programs to take effect to combat these issues.