El Dorado County ranked 7th healthiest in California | TahoeDailyTribune.com

El Dorado County ranked 7th healthiest in California

Margaret Williams
Special to the Tribune

For the fifth consecutive year, El Dorado County has ranked among the top 10 healthiest counties statewide in an annual report by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The "County Health Rankings" report, released on March 25, ranked El Dorado County seventh healthiest among the 57 ranked counties in California. The report gives El Dorado County high marks for its quality of life, and positive social and economic factors, such as excellent educational opportunities, decreasing unemployment and a low percentage of children in poverty.

El Dorado County ranks the best in the state for High School graduation rates (two other counties ranked equally well), with 94 percent of students graduating compared to a statewide average of 83 percent. The report also shows 8.5 percent of El Dorado County residents are unemployed compared to 8.9 percent statewide and 14 percent of children are living in poverty in El Dorado County compared to a statewide average of 24 percent. Additionally, the report shows that the percentage of adults reporting poor or fair health in El Dorado County is 10 percent compared to 18 percent statewide, and the teen birth rate in El Dorado is 16 per 1,000 compared to the state, which has a rate of 34 per 1,000.

The report, however, is not all positive. The report ranks El Dorado County as one of the worst in the State for alcohol impaired driving deaths. Alcohol is involved in 44 percent of driving deaths in the county compared to a statewide average of 31 percent and a national benchmark of 14 percent, according to the report. El Dorado also ranks poorly in the area of excessive drinking, with 21 percent of El Dorado residents reporting binge drinking or heavy drinking, compared with a statewide average of 17 percent and a national benchmark of 10 percent. Additionally, the report shows that El Dorado County has drug poisoning deaths almost double the statewide average.

According to Dr. Alicia Paris-Pombo, El Dorado County Health Officer, the annual report provides an opportunity to see where the county is doing well and to identify areas where the community and agencies can work together to make improvements. "We can all be very proud we live in such a beautiful and healthy county," Paris-Pombo said. "It is a great place to live and raise a family. But there are things we can do to further improve the health of our community. For example, the problem of drinking and driving and substance abuse is something we can all address. Planning alcohol and drug-free events, designating sober drivers, calling a taxi or friend if someone is too impaired to drive, and calling 9-1-1 to report impaired drivers can all help to reduce deaths due to driving under the influence. We can also encourage friends and loved ones to seek professional help if they are having an alcohol or other drug problem."

For a complete copy of the County Health Rankings report data visit: http://www.edcgov.us/publichealth or http://www.countyhealthrankings.org.

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