Kingsbury County ranks as 5th healthiest in South Dakota

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

A new study released last month ranks Kingsbury County as the 5th healthiest in South Dakota.


While that’s good news in itself, the real news is this same study shows Kingsbury County shooting into the top 10 from a ranking of 22 out of 55 South Dakota counties in 2011. The top 10, in order, are Brookings, Hutchinson, Lincoln, Bon Homme, Kingsbury, Hamlin, Clay, Hughes, Edmunds and Codington.


The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute has done the study every year since 2010 in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


The study uses publicly available data from such sources at the Centers for Disease Control and other federal and state agencies to rank some 3,000 counties across the nation. The study has shown each year that Brookings County is the healthiest in South Dakota and that Shannon County is the most unhealthy.


Such factors as mortality, morbidity (the relative incidence of disease), health factors, health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and the physical environment are compared to state and national benchmarks.


“I was impressed,” said Janice Schardin, administrator at Avera De Smet Memorial Hospital.


After reviewing the 2013 study, Schardin said there are some wellness sessions that can be incorporated into the new community center/wellness center planned for De Smet that could have a positive impact on the area. Adult obesity is something Avera De Smet is already addressing with a weight-loss program.


The study shows that 27 percent of Kingsbury County’s adult population is obese. That figure has remained the same since 2011 and compares with 30 percent obese in the state and 25 percent obese in the national population.


The study also shows that 31 percent of the county’s population in both 2012 and 2013 were physically inactive. That category did not appear in the 2011 study.


Schardin said the new wellness center could help reduce that number by offering opportunities for year-around activity.


Dale Blegen

Editor and Publisher

The De Smet News

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