Adams is the 15th healthiest county in Indiana, according to a report compiled by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The report, released Wednesday by the Indiana State Department of Health, used a series of statistics as well as individual responses to a series of survey questions to determine the health ranking of all 92 Indiana counties.
The researchers looked at a diverse set of data ranging from self-reported medical and mental health indicators to socio-economic factors such as teen birth rates, smoking and drinking habits, sexually transmitted diseases and local poverty levels.
The report listed the 10 healthiest counties in Indiana as Hamilton, Dubois, Boone, LaGrange, Hendricks, Warrick, DeKalb, Wells, Whitley and Marshall.
The county with the poorest health outcomes were Scott, followed by Starke, Pike, Switzerland, Fayette, Sullivan, Martin, Jennings, Lake and Jay.
Adams County dropped to 28th in the state in overall health factors, according to the report.
Adams County exceeded the state and national benchmarks in the number of adults reporting poor to fair overall health. The ranking was based on survey responses to the question: “In general, would you say that your health is excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor?”
Of those respondents, 17 percent of Adams County adults listed their health as fair to poor. The statewide average was 16 percent, while the national benchmark was 10 percent.
County residents similarly reported an average of 3.4 "physically unhealthy" days during the previous 30-day period, higher than the national average of 2.6 days but below the state average of 3.6.
Adams County also exceeded the national average in the number of self-described "mentally unhealthy" days in the 30-day reporting period. Adams respondents noted 2.8 such instances, while the state average was 3.6 days and the national benchmark was 2.6.
According to the report, Adams County far exceeds the national and state averages in excessive drinking, described as "binge plus heaving drinking." Twenty percent of county residents put themselves in that category, higher than the state average of 16 percent and well above the national benchmark of 8 percent.
The percentage of Adams County adults who reported smoking was 19 percent, above the national average of 15 percent but well below the 25 percent average for Indiana counties.
The teen birth rate (per 1,000 female population) for girls aged 15-19, according to the report, was 34 in Adams County, 45 for Indiana and 22 nationally.
Similarly, Adams exceeded the national average with 138 reported cases of the sexually transmitted disease Chlamydia per 100,000 population. The national average was 83, while the state average was listed at 349.
A total of 14 percent of Adams County adults under the age of 65 have no health insurance, a number which mostly mirrors the state and national averages, according to the report.
Other socio-economic factors identified by the report included high school graduation rates, the number of children living in poverty, and the number of single-parent households.
The county's overall graduation rate of 85 percent exceeded the state average of 74 percent.
But Adams County, with 24 percent of its children reportedly living in poverty, also topped both the state (18 percent) and national (11 percent) averages, the report said.
The number of single-parent households in Adams County was set at 19 percent, while the national average was 20 percent and the state average among counties was listed at 31 percent.