Health of the Population of Ohio: An Analysis


Health of an Ohio Population

The health of a particular population and the main concerns each is faced with is an important first step in correcting or helping a community. Populations of a community consist of infants, children, young adults, adults, senior citizens whether healthy or disabled in some way. This poses a challenge alone, but then add mixed ethnicities with different ideals and it poses a bigger challenge yet. Each person, or group of persons, in a community has a various degree of risk for different conditions as well based on different behaviors, ethnicities and such. Conveying the general idea to promote health and explaining the initiatives that are created and providing support to the community at the same time is a must. Let us look at Stark County in the state of Ohio to gain a better understanding of the population break down, health concerns facing children in the county, and what is being done to combat them.

Stark County, Ohio Population Breakdown

Stark County, Ohio has an overall population of 375, 432 persons and is broken down into many smaller towns and villages that consist of various age groups and ethnicities (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). Majority of the population is female with 51.5% and males making up the other 48.5% (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). The population breakdown by age and percentage is shown in the table below.

Population Age

Percentage of Population


# of Population

5 years and under

5.5 %


6-18 years

22.1 %


18-64 years

55.1 %


65 and older

17.3 %


(U.S. Census Bureau, 2010)

Health Concerns Facing Children of Stark County, Ohio

Children make up a large portion of Stark County’s population, after adults aged 18-64, with a total of 103,618 children all together. Two major health concerns facing children today in Stark County, and the United States as well, are childhood obesity and mental health wellness. These concerns were identified in 2012 as part of the Stark County Community Health Improvement Plan as priority number one and three.

Childhood Obesity

Research into the Community Health Improvement Plan for Stark County (2012) revealed that, “34.1% of Stark County third graders were either overweight or obese in 2009-2010” according to the CDC. Obesity is measured using the body mass index scale which is done utilizing a weight to height ratio with a measurement over 30 kg per meter squared being considered obese (Russell-Mayhew, McVey, Bardick, & Ireland, 2012). This only represents a small number of children, which for the category, has a high percentage. Obesity can lead to other health concerns and issues such as diabetes, heart problems, joint problems, depression, etc. and is associated with nearly $60 million a year in health care costs and lost productivity (NACS, 2013). Initiatives put into place to help combat childhood obesity in the county include wellness seminars at schools, promote physical activity and nutrition programs, and increase funding to Stark County schools to help create more programs and awareness (Stark County Health Department, 2012). The state of Ohio itself, which is ranked 12th for childhood obesity, also has launched an early childhood obesity prevention grant that will fund high-need communities and build upon other programs in communities as well (NACS, 2013).

Mental Health Wellness

The second area of health concern facing children is mental health wellness. According to Athena Health (2014), the rate of children being diagnosed with mental health conditions is continuing to rise with a recent increase of twenty-three percent with ADHD, anxiety and depression being the leading mental health diagnoses. The Ohio Youth Survey utilized in making the Community Health Improvement Plan (2012) indicated that 26.6% of students were sad or hopeless more often than not during the day for a period of two weeks in a row and as a result they stopped participating in activities they previously enjoyed and became withdrawn. Increasing awareness of mental health wellness promotion and substance abuse programs and their usage by implementing seminars, creating education programs and activities, performing screenings and making resources available are all part of the initiatives in place by the Stark County Health Department to combat this health concern facing children and others.

Health Screening Tool for Risks

Childhood Obesity and Mental Health Wellness both have initiatives created that use screening tools to help identify risks and how to prevent the health concern from occurring as one part of the solution. The following is an example of a health risk assessment taken and the information that may be provided to help decrease likelihood of getting a disease. A series of questions is asked about behaviors, demographics, health and such which is then compiled into a result that determines the risk into seven categories for this particular assessment relating to stroke risk: very much below average risk, much below average risk, below average risks, average risk, above average risk, much above average risk, and very much above average risks. The assessment explains what put the person taken the assessment at a much below average risk for a stroke such as not smoking, healthy blood pressure, exercising and not consuming alcohol in abundance. (Convergence Health, 2014)

Following that section, there is a recommendation section. The recommendations for a much below average risk person regarding stroke is to continue healthy behaviors, maintain a lower weight, avoid passive smoke increase fruit and vegetable intake, and incorporate fish into diet on a weekly basis (Convergence Health, 2014). The recommendation section points out areas that may already be known but helps to reinforce what is necessary for better health and increase chances of avoiding future illnesses. This information is useful when creating a personal plan to becoming a better, healthier person to achieve any long term goals while reminding one to take care of their body and what we ingest directly affects one’s health and to be a positive role model for future generations.


Understanding a population and what the associated health risks are for that particular group helps create an effective improvement plan to successfully increase their health. Issues facing children such as childhood obesity and mental health wellness not only impact today, but the future as well. Teaching children how to be healthy now will help them to be more productive, healthy adults and help curb the same issue for their children as they are the role models being seen. States, counties and townships must ban together to help create and continue programs that are aimed to offer support and resources to create healthier communities. In the words of Gandhi, “It is health that is real wealth, not pieces of gold and silver” (Brainy Quote, 2014, p.1).


Athena Health. (2014). Rising mental health issues facing our children, in five charts. Retrieved from

Brainy Quote. (2014). Health Quotes-Gandhi. Retrieved

Convergence Health. (2014). Stroke Risk Assessment. Retrieved from

NACS Online. (2013, June). Ohio launches new childhood obesity initiative. Retrieved from

Russell-Mayhew, S., McVey, G., Bardick, A., and Ireland, A. (2012). Mental Health, Wellness, and Childhood Obesity. Journal of Obesity (2012). Doi: 10.1155/2012/281801 

Stark County Health Department. (2012). Stark County Community Health Improvement Plan. Retrieved from

U.S. Census Bureau. (2010). 2010 Demographic Profile Data-Stark County. Retrieved from

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