• Last modified 56 days ago (March 27, 2024)


County gets mixed grades on health

Staff writer

A newly released study by Kansas Health Institute shows both improvement and worsening of health in Marion County.

County residents score better than national averages for employment, children not living in poverty, residents having social associations and high school diplomas, avoiding deaths from alcohol-impaired driving, and children born with adequate birth weight.

However, the 2024 Health Outcomes and Health Factors study shows Marion County residents are slightly more likely to smoke and equally likely as other state residents to be overweight.

The county’s food environment score is 8, higher than both the state average of 7.1 and the national average of 7.7

Other health factors

Access to health care providers is a challenge in the county. It has far fewer primary care physicians, dentists, and mental health providers per resident than typical statewide.

In the county, there are 17 primary care physicians, 42 dentists, and 67 mental health providers per 100,000 residents.

Statewide, there are 78 primary care physicians, 63 dentists, and 237 mental health providers per 100,000 residents.

Two percent more county residents than state residents are not physically active, and the county offers markedly less access to exercise than other residents in the state or nation have.

The county has a score of 55 for access to exercise opportunities, the state has a score of 80, and the national score is 84. The county’s score was 35 last year.

County residents have a lower rate of both excessive drinking and driving deaths where alcohol is involved, with 16% of residents drinking excessively compared to a state average of 20%, and 8% of driving deaths due to alcohol compared to 20% statewide. Both those numbers are smaller over the last three years.

The rate of sexually transmitted diseases among 100,000 people is less than half the state average.

The birth rate among teens age 15 to 19 is about three-quarters of the statewide rate. Marion County’s teen birth rate is 14 per 1,000. The state teen birth rate is 19, which exceeds the national rate of 17.

The number of preventable hospital stays for people 65 and older is higher than both statewide and national averages.

The county has 2,830 preventable hospital stays per 100,000 residents, which is lower than in any of the previous four years. The number peaked in 2021 at 3,313.

Social and economic factors

A slightly smaller percentage of county adults age 25 and older have some college education. In the county, 64% do, while in the state 71% do. Still a smaller percentage of people ages 16 and older are unemployed, with 2.4% for the county and 2.7% for the state.

The number of children living in poverty, at 12%, is lower than the statewide average of 14% but has notched up from two years ago, when 10% of county children lived in poverty.

Twenty percent of Marion County children live in single parent homes, compared to 21% in the state and 25% in the nation.

Physical environment

County residents are slightly more likely than other state residents to be exposed to air pollution and less likely to face severe housing problems, with that number shrinking over the last four years.

Last modified March 27, 2024