A County-Level Health Index to Capture Geographic Variation in Health Conditions in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota

Jing Zhau, Tess Weber, Jessica Hanson, Morgan Nelson, Chad Birger, Susan Puumala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Individual health is influenced by multiple, potentially correlated factors including healthcare availability, community context, and socioeconomic factors. To measure the health changes at county-levels across North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota, a measure of relative health, health index, was developed incorporating multiple indicators from domains of health conditions, health behaviors, and social determinants. METHODS: We combined data from all 206 counties in the aforementioned three states for the years 2008-2012 from multiple data sources. We performed factor analysis that accounted for a hierarchical structure of the overall health index comprising of 15 indicators. RESULTS: A hierarchical structure is identified in which three intermediate factors are connecting the health index with 15 health indicators. The grouping results of the 206 counties based on health index values demonstrate the existence of a gradient in health conditions in the Northern Plains. CONCLUSIONS: The health status of urban areas was generally better than that of rural areas in the Northern Plains during this study period. The developed index adds stability to the estimates of the population characteristics, especially in rural, sparsely populated counties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-213
Number of pages8
JournalSouth Dakota medicine : the journal of the South Dakota State Medical Association
Volume72
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

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