Why Ouachita County Ranked The Least Healthy County In Arkansas

Mar 20, 2013

The Arkansas Department of Health says Benton County is ranked the healthiest county in the state.

The annual County Health Rankings takes into account 30 considerations, like dentists in the area, the percentage of adults who smoke and the accessibility of healthy food.

Dr. Joe Bates, the Deputy State Health Officer, said Ouachita County has the least healthy residents in the state.

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“I can guess that they’re high in obesity, high in lack of physical activity, probably high in adults who smoke, probably high in teen birth rate, perhaps not doing really well in mammography rates, and they probably have lower income on average,” said Dr. Bates.

Among the healthiest counties are Benton, Washington and Faulkner. 

Emily Harris with the Hometown Health Coalition Improvement Initiatives said Faulkner County has a higher percentage of people are educated in CPR and First aid training, the use of child safety seats and there’s good quality of health care.

Pulaski County ranked near the middle of the list.

Dr. Bates offered these tips to stay healthy, “If you smoke, you certainly shouldn’t and we have 25-26% of adults in Arkansas continue to smoke. And it’s more likely being found in the lower income groups and lower educated groups. Exercise is very good for you, even just modest just like a brisk walk 30 minutes a day, five-six days a week is very good for you.”

Dr. Bates said half of adults in Arkansas suffer from high blood pressure and one-fourth of people under age 65 don’t have health insurance.

The fourth annual County Health Rankings released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Click here to learn more about the rankings.