Report Says County Continues To Decline In Health Rankings

MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County continues to decline in the categories of Health Outcomes and Health Factors, according to a report released this week by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 
The report says that Chautauqua County ranks 58th out of 62 New York State counties with Health Outcomes and 57th in the category of Health Factors. These figures dropped slightly from the 2017 rankings of 54th for Health Outcomes and 48th for Health Factors.
“We have known for some time that there is much work to be done to improve health in Chautauqua County, but these data points reinforce the need for community action to improve health behaviors such as tobacco use, nutrition, and physical activity,” said Christine Schuyler, Director of Health and Human Services. “The most recent CDC surveys indicate that Chautauqua County has the highest adult smoking rate and adult obesity rate in New York State.”
“We all play a role in making our community healthier, and it’s time to step up and make changes – individually and at the organization and community levels.”
The Health Outcomes category focuses on mortality (death) and morbidity (illness), and looks at factors such as premature death, number of poor physical and mental health days, and occurrence of low birth weight among babies.
A higher rate of premature death was seen compared to many other counties in New York State (Chautauqua rank is 56), which looks at the years of potential life lost rate (deaths prior to age 75). Premature death in Chautauqua County is primarily due to heart disease, cancer, suicide, and fatal drug overdoses. Deaths to younger people impact the rate greater than deaths of older people, such as 65 year olds who have heart attacks.
The Health Factors category consists of subcategories including health behaviors (smoking, obesity, alcohol consumption, etc.), clinical care, social and economic factors (unemployment, education, crime, etc.), and the physical environment (built environment and quality of environment).
In the Health Behaviors subcategory, Chautauqua County ranked as 62nd out of 62 counties, largely due to elevated rates of adults who smoke (24%) and adults who are obese (33%), according to CDC surveys. The County’s high teen birth rate of 29 births per 1,000 females ages 15-19 (compared to 18 births per 1,000 females ages 15-19 in New York State) also factored into the poor rank.
Chautauqua County did well in the Clinical Care subcategory, ranking 21st out of the 62 counties. Contributing to this positive measure were a lower percentage of individuals uninsured, lower than average preventable hospital stays, and a relatively high percentage of female Medicare enrollees who had received mammography screenings. This rank also considers patient to provider ratios and diabetes monitoring.
The subcategory of Social and Economic Factors is an area for improvement, with a rank of 55 out of 62. High rates of children living in poverty and unemployment negatively influenced our ranking in this subcategory, while a high rate of social associations benefitted the county’s rank.
“Childhood poverty is prevalent in Chautauqua County- impacting nearly 30% of all children,” said Schuyler. “The issue is even greater for minority populations, with 56% of African American children and 55% of Hispanic children living in poverty in our County. We know that social determinants- income, education, employment, etc.- greatly influence health. Our Department will continue to work creatively to address the needs of our most at-risk residents.”
Chautauqua County’s biggest improvement, and best rank, was seen in the Physical Environment subcategoryNumber 13 out of the 62 counties, this ranking was affected most by the absence of any major public water violations.
“Many collaborative efforts to help us positively impact the health and welfare of all are underway through our communities,” said Schuyler. “Along with that, individuals need to take responsibility for their own health and well-being and that of their loved ones – this includes making good lifestyle and behavior choices.”
As a snapshot of Chautauqua County, the 2018 report says:

  • 24% of adults smoke, compared to 14% statewide.
  • 33% of adults are obese, compared to 25% statewide.
  • Premature death (measured as years of potential life lost before age 75 per 100,000 population) – 7,200 years compared to 5,300 years statewide.
  • 79% of adults have access to exercise opportunities, compared to 93% statewide.
  • 33% of alcohol impaired driving deaths, compared to 22% statewide.
  • 38% of children are raised in a single-parent household, compared to 35% statewide.
  • 29% of children live in poverty, compared to 21% statewide.
  • 81% of people drive to work alone, compared to 53% statewide.
  • 19% of people who drive alone have a long commute, compared to 37% statewide.
  • 9 days with high levels of particulate matter in the air (air pollution), compared to 8.6 days statewide
  • 7% uninsured, compared to 8% statewide.
  • The ratio of patients to primary care providers was 1,740:1, compared to 1,200:1 statewide.
  • The ratio of patients to dentists was 1,750:1, compared to 1,240:1 statewide.
  • The ratio of patients to mental health providers was 710:1, compared to 390:1 statewide.
  • 68% mammography screening rate, compared to 62% statewide.
  • 8.0% of babies are low birthweight, compared to 8.0% statewide.
  • 29 teen births per 1,000 females aged 15-19, compared to 18 statewide.
  • 377.9 cases of Chlamydia (sexually transmitted disease) per 100,000 population, compared to 524.7 statewide.
  • 83% graduate from high school, compared to 79% statewide.
  • 5.8% unemployment rate, compared to 4.8% statewide.
  • 232 violent crime rate per 100,000 population, compared to 394 statewide.
  • 64 injury death rate per 100,000 population, compared to 46 statewide.