Based on the premise that much of what influences health happens outside the doctor’s office, the 2012 County Health Calculator uses education and income to illustrate how these factors can affect one’s health any county.
The app estimates how many cases of diabetes would be prevented, how many lives would be saved and how many diabetes costs would be eliminated if income or education levels improved by specific amounts in a specific area. For example, the Pulaski County page shows, “If 5 percent more people attended some college and 4 percent more had an income higher than twice the federal poverty level, we could expect to save 17 lives, prevent 175 cases of diabetes, and eliminate $12 million in diabetes costs every year.”
The application also shows which counties have the highest and lowest education levels (best: Fayette County, worst: Clay County) and income levels (best: Oldham County, worst: McCreary County).
The interactive app was developed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Virginia Commonwealth University‘s Center on Human Needs and renders “ballpark estimates” of avertable deaths, diabetes and diabetes cost. Researchers obtained education and income data from the U.S Census Bureau and county death rates and estimates of the prevalence of diabetes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Estimates of diabetes prevalence were based on self-reports by people who responded to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Data on medical spending on diabetes derived from The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care. (Read more)