by Lance Edwards
Community Investment Director
As the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament approaches, I look at my miserable bracket. I was methodical, using Bing’s prediction tool. I was sentimental, advancing all ACC teams. (That’s about the only thing keeping me in the game right now.) While college rankings have been many people’s focus for the past few weeks, another annual ranking has come out today — and Buncombe County has every reason to be happy because we’re healthy.
County Health Ranking & Roadmaps, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program, publishes an easy-to-use snapshot comparing the overall health of nearly every county in the nation using factors that communities can do something about. This year, Buncombe County ranks at #6 in North Carolina for Health Factors, up from #7 last year. We've also made gains in Health Outcomes, placing at #14 from #18 last year.
It's All Connected
When looking at the new rankings, one can quickly see how a multitude of diverse factors have very real impacts on health. The four main categories of health factors used in this reports are: Health Behaviors, Clinical Care, Social and Economic Factors, and Physical Environment. Embedded in these four areas are issues that are obviously connected to health, as well as variables you may not think of immediately. For example, smoking and having access to a physician impact health, but so do graduating from high school and living in poverty.
United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County believes Education, Income and Health form the stable foundation of a good, productive life. This study does a wonderful job of reminding us that Education, Income, and Health truly are interconnected. Take some time to review this information and realize any step you take to help yourself or someone else in one area — say, addressing food insecurity or mentoring a child — will not only bolster income or education outcomes, but health outcomes as well.
Building On Our Success
Health is everyone’s responsibility. Working together, we can make Asheville and Buncombe County a place where we live healthy, learn healthy and lead healthy. It’s just another way that great things happen when we LIVE UNITED!
United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County celebrates the collective effort that made this happen. Businesses, government, nonprofits and individual community members have partnered create a healthier community. What will we do when we reach #1? We’ll take it to the next level, of course.