County checkup: Audit of health issues suggests education, access to care, changing behaviors


Dr. David Wippermann talks with patient Wayne Clark prior to performing a procedure Wednesday at Johnson Memorial Surgical Specialists. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal

Unhealthy behaviors, such as tobacco use, poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle, are leading to heart disease and cancer, the two top causes of death in Johnson County, a local study showed.

Levels of obesity and smoking are high in Johnson County and are causing health problems for residents, including diabetes, cancer and coronary heart disease, according to a health needs assessment by Johnson Memorial Hospital. The assessment, which is required for all hospitals nationwide as part of the Affordable Care Act, analyzed hospital discharge data, patient comments and data gathered by the Partnership for a Healthier Johnson County to determine the most significant health risk behaviors and outcomes in Johnson County.

None of the results was surprising, Johnson Memorial Hospital spokesman Bill Oakes said. Partnership for a Healthier Johnson County keeps track of data on health risks, such as how many people smoke or have diabetes, so the hospital already knew the main health issues in the county, he said.

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