Levy County's not healthy

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Ranks 51 out of 67 counties in state

By The Staff

If you have not been feeling spiffy, consider this: You are not alone. Levy County is not a healthy place. 

The county ranks 51 out of the state’s 67 counties in health outcomes according to the latest report from the University of Wisconsin and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The two team up annually to provide a county-by-county snapshot of health in the United States. 

While we are living longer, we are

• More likely to be obese – 32 percent had a body mass index of 30 or more,

• To lead sedentary lives – 33 percent of people over 20 years of age reported they did not engage in physical activity even though 76 percent of the county population has access to exercise opportunities

• Have more sexually transmitted disease – the rate of diagnosed chlamydia cases, 185,  is equal to 462 per 100,000 residents and it is trending up

• Higher rates of teen births – the 428 births to females between 15 and 19 ranks the county 50th in the state, and 

• Not have health insurance – 24 percent of residents under 65 years of age don’t have health coverage. 

The factors that contribute to that picture are lower earnings, less education, unemployment, high numbers of children living in poverty, long commutes and deaths due to injury.

While Florida averages 15 motor vehicle deaths and 15 drug poisoning deaths in a year, Levy will have 35 traffic deaths and 18 drug poisoning deaths. 

And 24 percent in Levy County responded that they could not afford to see a doctor due to cost, the figure for Florida is 17 percent. Also reflected in the report: Floridians spend on average $11,163 on health care, Levy County residents spend $9,986. 

While Florida’s median income is $46,021, in Levy County the median income is $33,193. Only 50 percent of Florida children qualify for the free lunch program, but in Levy County that number is 63 percent.

According to state Department of Health data, as of 2013, the major causes of death in Levy County were:

• cancer with 239.2 deaths compared to 159.6 average in Florida;

• heart disease, with 193.2 deaths compared to 153.9 average in Florida;

• chronic lower respiratory disease,with 53 deaths compared to 39.6 state average;

• stroke, with 41.1 for Levy and 31.3 for the state

• diabetes, 38.5 for Levy and 19.6 for the state

• motor vehicle crashes, with 34.3 for Levy and 12.2 for the state

• cirrhosis, with 17.1 for Levy and 10.8 for the state

• pneumonia/influenza with 10.6 for Levy and 9.2 for the state, and

• HIV/AIDS with .8 for Levy County and 4.7 for the state.

For the years 2011-2013 more whites died from cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease and cirrhosis than did blacks. The rate was about even between the races for stroke.

But blacks had greater rates of death due to diabetes and and motor vehicle crashes.