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Broome County Health Ranking Drops Third Year In A Row

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By Faith Jessie.
Broome County dropped to spot #56 in a New York State healthy county ranking.

According to a ranking by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin, Broome County placed 56 out of 62 counties in New York, making it one of the most unhealthy counties in the state. This is down five spots from 2015 and down eight spots from 2014.

Despite this decrease, county health officials say that the number, determined from data collection from a variety of health measures, such as tobacco usage and obesity might not reflect an accurate overview of every aspect of Broome County's health. They say the group grades certain areas of health on a higher scale than others.

"Some of the areas get a little bit more weight... we may not be performing as well in as some other counties, likewise, there are areas that we do very well in which may have a low value in the ranking system or not be included at all," said Britton.

Britton says Broome County has put in efforts to improve areas of concern in the community, such as a successful ban on smoking around government buildings and public places like the Oakdale Mall.

Efforts also include approving paid leave for government employees to get their colons screened, initiatives that Britton says improves community health.

"The take away shouldn't be that we're inherently unhealthy or somehow failing to be a healthy community, there are a lot of bright spots within this report, said Britton. "Some of our scores exceed the scores within entire states. For example, we had obesity rates that were lower than the entire state of Alabama."

Britton also said that, no matter how much effort the city takes in promoting health, rankings reflect some health decisions that can only be controlled by the behavior of the county's residents.

"Sometimes we're able to inspire a health change and unfortunately sometimes we are not," said Britton.

Health officials say keeping up with daily tasks like washing your hands often, getting enough sleep every night, and maybe even spending a few less idle hours on the computer can have a positive impact in long term health.

"Trying to turn off the television, your iPad, your iPhone, whatever your working with and do something different. Does it mean that you have to get on your treadmill? No, it just means let's start reducing some of that sedentary time," said Battisti.

"Health is never ending, it's constantly in motion and it's forever an ongoing process and every single step that we make either moves us towards it or away from it," said Battisti.