GASTON COUNTY, N.C. -- New rankings show Gaston County is among the unhealthiest counties in the state.
According to the rankings from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Gaston County slipped five spots in a statewide ranking of county health outcomes, from seventy-sixth to eighty-first out of 100 counties.
Health outcomes are the quantification of illness and early death in a community.
However, in a ranking of health factors, which measures the infrastructure and resources necessary for communities to be healthy, Gaston climbed four spots, from sixty-fifth to sixty-first.
The health department is leading a team of agencies trying to come up with new ways to fight obesity in the county; Girls on the Run is a character building program that tries to teach kids about fitness early in life.
Kathleen Boyce, the director of the program for Gaston County says she was not surprised by the county health rankings.
”I’m not surprised; just being out in the community [it’s] easy to become aware... it’s a terrible problem nationwide… [We] have different initiatives as a health department trying to make a difference,” she said.