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New Study Shows Geographic Differences In Women’s Health

There are big differences among women’s health in Ohio counties, even in areas that are geographically close, according to an analysis released Monday by the Center for Community Solutions.

Health care access, poverty rates, and education vary greatly depending on what county a woman lives in.

While these regional differences are not exclusive to women, the Center for Community Solution’s Melissa Federman says that is where they wanted to focus.

“For us, we work across many issues: Medicaid policy, maternal and infant health, seniors, adolescent health, and we look at them often independently,” Federman said. “And we realize that when we look at the status of women, the conditions that women face influence many of the outcomes that we care about.”

The teen birth rate in Cuyahoga County is slightly higher than the state average, but it’s very different than some neighboring counties, according to the analysis.

There were about 28 births per every 1,000 teen girls in Cuyahoga County, which is about three more births than the state average. But that rate is four times as high as neighboring Geauga County which has one of the lowest teen pregnancy rates in the state. Neighboring Lake and Medina also have low teen pregnancy rates.

High rates of teen pregnancies can have a long-term generational impact, says Federman.

“Education completion really can be halted for young women. It can really impact future earnings. They’re more likely to live in poverty with children in the future if they have a pregnancy and birth while they’re a teenager.”

Federman says the rate discrepancies are tied to the policies and programs in different counties, such as family planning programs.

The study also found about 20 counties in Ohio don’t have community health centers, which are important aspects of women’s health care.

The researchers didn’t look at the role of race, but in the future, they hope to incorporate both gender and race to further understand the status of women.