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Report: Nye second unhealthiest county in state

Nye County has found itself near the bottom of a dubious list for the second straight year.

The county came in as the second most unhealthy county out of the 17 counties in Nevada (only behind Mineral County), making a one-spot leap over last year, when it came in dead last.

The list is part of the County Health Rankings released last week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. States across the country were dissected by county, and ranked on 30 factors.

Those factors include education, exercise, diet, smoking history, health care provider availability, housing, transportation, and violent crime, among others.

Nye County came in at No. 16 out of 16 last year, as Esmeralda County wasn’t rated for last year’s study.

The report’s health factors overall report showed that 19 percent of Nye County residents were in fair or poor health, a one percent jump over last year’s 20 percent finding. Clark County came in with 18 percent of residents in fair or poor health and the state average was 17 percent.

The availability of physicians to treat the population that are not in good health is a problem in Nye County, as the primary care physician-to-patient ratio is 2,350:1 down from 2,387:1 last year, opposed to 1,830:1, which almost the same as last year’s 1,829:1 in Clark County and the state average of 1,750:1, which is lower than last year’s rate of 1,777:1.

Obtaining dental care in the county isn’t any easier than it was last year as the dentist-to-patient ratio for Nye was 4,700:1, the same as last year’s findings. That’s compared to that of Clark at 1,710:1 (1,779:1 in 2015) and the state average of 1,730:1 (1,777:1 last year).

A major factor to being healthy in general is access to exercise opportunities and healthy foods and Nye County is significantly lacking in both categories compared to the state’s average.

Just 18 percent of Nye County residents have access to exercise opportunities, down from 21 last year. That number is significantly lower than Clark County’s 91 percent (90 percent in 2015) and the state average of 88 percent (87 percent last year).

Nye County saw 19 percent of the population with limited access to healthy food, compared to two percent for Clark County and four percent statewide.

Lifestyle choices are also crucial to a person’s well-being and Nye County is lacking in that area as well.

One factor that saw a significant drop in Nye County was adult smoking, which fell to 18 percent this year from 29 percent in 2015. Clark County was also came in at 18 percent, down from 21 percent last year, the state average was one percent lower at 17 percent.

Nye County again had less excessive drinkers in its population with 16 percent being included in that category (14 percent in 2015), which was lower than Clark County’s 17 percent and the state’s 18 percent, both unchanged from last year.

Nye fared better than Clark on the occurrence of violent crime, as Nye County saw 674 reported violent crime offenses per 100,000 population, compared to Clark County’s 715. Both were much higher than the state average of 616.

Clark County came in as the 12th healthiest county in the state based on health factors, as Douglas County came in as the healthiest county in Nevada based on health factors.

Nye County fared poorly nationally yet again, ranking in the bottom 10 percent for all seven years of the study.

Contact reporter Mick Akers at makers@pvtimes.com. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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