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Delaware Named Healthiest County In Ohio

City of Delaware

Delaware County once again tops the list for healthiest county in Ohio, according to a new national study.

Delaware is No. 1 for health outcomes in all but one category based on quality of life factors.

The study, authored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, focused this year on where people live and how affordable housing plays a role in better health outcomes.

In Delaware, the study shows that 10 percent of families struggle with severe housing problems due to high costs. The state average is 15 percent, and in Franklin County, 17 percent of families do not have stable housing.

The report finds that across counties, “increases in the share of households severely cost burdened are associated with more food insecurity, more child poverty, and more people in fair or poor health.”

The study argues that home ownership can help a family build savings for education or for other opportunities to improve health or boost future family wealth. For African-American residents, however, more than half of households are renters rather than homeowners.

“In the past decade, trends in home ownership rates have changed little on average, though gaps among racial/ethnic groups are widening,” the report says.

Only 10 percent of people reported poor or fair health conditions in Delaware County, while the state average is 17 percent.

Delaware also reported just 6 percent babies born with low birthweight. That's compared to 10 percent in Adams County, in the southeast part of the state, which ranked last overall. Adult obesity in Delaware stands at 27 percent, while in Adams obesity is 32 percent.

Franklin County fares in the bottom half of the list, ranking as the 48th healthiest county in the state. Sixteen percent of adults in Franklin County report fair or poor health.

Franklin's low birthweight rate is at 9 percent, the same as the state average. Adult obesity is 29 percent, just slightly below the state average of 32 percent.

Surrounding counties in Central Ohio - Union, Fairfield, Licking, Madison and Pickaway counties - all fared better in overall ranking than Franklin.