Website ranks local counties among the unhealthiest in SC

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Recent rankings paint a very bad picture of health in some South Carolina counties, particularly Darlington, Dillon, Marlboro and Marion Counties.

Horry County ranks 14th healthiest in the state, according to a recent poll. The rankings also look at how you live your life outside the doctor's office - How your education, job, income and the environment play a role in how healthy you are and how long you're going to live. put the list together. It calculates based on eight different factors: health outcomes, length of life, quality of life, health factors, health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment. Each factor has its own individual rank for where Horry County stands compared to other counties.

Horry County doesn't have extremely high or low rankings in any of the categories. The best rank is 14 for physical environment and quality of life, and the worst is 32 for clinical care.

Compared to the average county in South Carolina, in Horry County there are more people uninsured, more violent crimes, and more children in poverty. On the flip side, there are fewer drinking water violations, less adult obesity, and more access to physical opportunities. Although, there are fewer health care providers.

"Primary care in this area probably still is not what exactly what it should be based on the number of people that we have in the area," says Dr. Ron Reynolds of Beach Urgent Care in Myrtle Beach. "I think there's been some great strides recently to improve that, but still, there's a lot of areas to work on."

Comparing Marion to Horry County reveals a number of things:  Marion County has a significant number of people in poor or fair health, and a nearly 40 percent obesity rate. The county also has less access to exercise. 

There are also more alcohol impaired driving deaths in Marion and more than two times the number of sexually transmitted diseases than in Horry County.

There aren't nearly as many primary care physicians or dentists in Marion as there are in Horry County - even though Horry County's lowest rank is in this category.

"Those are significant factors," Dr. Reynolds says. "A lot of just generally unhealthy diets in the surrounding counties which have a huge effect on peoples' overall health down the road. But there's any one of a number of factors that play into the scenario. Unfortunately some of the counties around us are maybe more affected by those than other areas of the state."

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