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Published: Thursday, 4/18/2002

Survey details Sandusky County residents' health


Residents of Sandusky County smoke at a higher rate than the national average, and one in 10 county youths has carried a weapon in the last month.

Those are two of the dozens of health findings announced yesterday by Sandusky County health authorities.

The findings came out of a $20,000 survey paid for by Health Partners, a collaboration of nine health agencies and groups in the county.

“A lot of what we found we had anticipated,” said Dan Schwanke, chairman of Health Partners. “Heart disease and cancer were the two leading causes of illness, which is pretty much what's happening statewide and nationwide.

“But this is the first time the county has gathered this kind of information and then shared it with agencies on the front lines.”

Dave Pollick, health commissioner for the Sandusky County Health Department, said he's glad the county has local data on health problems and health risks. He said local health officials too often have used national data and guessed at what's going on locally.

“I have a lot of trouble with that [relying on national data],” he said. “It's much better to know what's going on in your community.”

Mr. Pollick said the health department and other county agencies will use the data to target their efforts where they are most needed.

That prioritization process has not happened yet, but he said it will soon.

Some of the findings from the survey include:

  • 36 percent of adults in the county smoke. That compares to 23.5 percent for the national average.

  • 12 percent of county residents lack health insurance, and 21 percent of county residents have been unable to acquire medical care because of the cost.

  • One third of the deaths in the county are caused by heart disease, the leading cause of the death.

  • Hispanics in the county are more likely to die younger of heart disease and stroke than whites.

    For example, 95 percent of Hispanics who died of heart disease died before 75, compared to 37 percent for whites.

  • Twenty-four percent of county deaths are caused by cancer, with lung cancer the No. 1 cancer-killer.

  • Sixty-four percent of county residents are overweight or obese, as are 38 percent of youth and 86 percent of Hispanics.

    Ottawa County plans to release a similar survey tomorrow.

    Lucas County has done a similar survey.

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