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|Bad habits worse in Franklin Parish|
A new study ranks Franklin Parish residents among the least healthy in Louisiana, giving its lowest rating for a category that includes smoking, overeating and binge drinking.
While Franklin Parish ranks 47th of Louisiana's 64 parishes in the study, the parish is at the very bottom of the list of residents with bad health behavior.
The study, released Wednesday by the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, purports to be the first to rank overall health on a county-by-county basis nationwide.
It isn't too surprising a farming community like Franklin Parish would receive a low grade for health behavior since similar trends have been seen in rural regions nationwide, said Julie Willems Van Dijk, a researcher for the University of Wisconsin who helped gather information for the study.
"We have seen a definite trend in rural areas, where a great majority of themó as much as 84 percentó are at the bottom of the list of healthy places to live," she said.
The study shows that 31 percent of Franklin Parish residents smoke, as compared with 23 percent of people in the entire state and 32 percent are obese, as compared with 31 statewide.
One in 10 people in Franklin Parish binge drink, less than the average number of binge drinkers across Louisiana, which the study concludes is 14 percent.
Chlamydia rates are 494 per 100,000 per-capita, slightly higher than 452 statewide.
In Franklin Parish, an average of 34 people per 100,000 die in motor vehicle crashes as compared with 19 statewide.
Teen birth rates are 84 as measured by a 100,000 per-capita in the parish and 54 statewide.
Louisiana is consistently ranked among the least healthy states in the country, according to studies such as one conducted by the United Health Foundation released last year that ranked the state the 47th most unhealthy state. Such studies make Franklin Parish's low health rating even more dire.
Besides behavior, overall ranking in the study measures residents mortality and morbidity rates along with social and economic factors, physical environment and access to health care.
"Often, if you look back at our back over the factors that contribute to poor health, you will see socioeconomic factors linked with those factors," said Van Dijk.
The study shows residents in healthier regions tend to have higher education levels, higher employment, have access to more health-care providers and have access to healthier foods.
Parks and recreational facilities are also more plentiful in healthier regions, according to the study.
Parishes in Northeast Louisiana, among the poorest and most rural in Louisiana, scored the lowest in the study.
At the very bottom of state's overall rating is Franklin's neighboring parish, Madison.
St. Tammany, among Louisiana's wealthiest parishes, was deemed the healthiest in the state.