Buncombe County is the 17th healthiest in the state, according to the County Health Rankings project. According to the rankings, the county has excellent health behavior and clinical care but problems with morbidity and environmental quality.
The figures, released today, rank Buncombe’s clinical care as the third best in the state, with a large number of primary care providers and few preventable hospital stays. The county’s health behaviors came in fifth. Buncombe residents were less obese and had more access to healthy foods than most counties, exceeding state averages and national goals in both areas.
“The rankings are just a starting point. They help us see where our community’s work is making a difference, such as the work to improve access to high quality health care,” Gibbie Harris, the county’s health director, said in an announcement. “
However, the picture is not all roses, and the excellent rankings in the above areas were counterbalanced by the amount of people reporting poor health days (especially mental health), poor air quality and low access to recreational facilities. Even in areas like obesity, where the county rates fairly well, there remain problems. Harris noted that obesity remains a health priority in Buncombe because eight in ten non-whites in the county struggle with obesity issues.
“Since we live in a state that ranks 35th in the nation for overall health (American Health Rankings),” Harris writes. “We aren’t really focused on being #1 as much as we are paying attention to the benchmarks, and to our disparities in health that must be our focus if we want to see improvements overall”.
— David Forbes, senior news reporter