As part of its effort to achieve Public Health Accreditation, the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County (DOH-Pinellas) is providing its residents with profiles of obesity and oral health in Pinellas.
Other topics exploring the county's health will follow as part of accreditation. The first two areas profiled were selected because obesity and the lack of accessible dental care are priorities in Florida.
Pinellas County's health picture in obesity and dental health suggests that more work is needed to meet the state's goal of becoming the healthiest state in the nation.
For example, 2010 obesity figures show that 41.6 percent of Pinellas adults were overweight and 24 percent were obese. About 28 percent of middle-school students weren't getting enough vigorous physical activity; the figure jumped to 37 percent for those in high school. Among adults, 60 percent did not eat the recommended fruit and vegetable servings and 22.4 percent were sedentary.
The dental health profile shows a need for more dentists who accept Medicaid. Of the 1,667 licensed dentists in Pinellas, 25 accepted Medicaid. Only 6.7 percent of Medicaid-eligible adults received dental services in 2011. More than 4,800 Pinellas residents resorted to visiting the emergency room for treatment of dental conditions that preventive, regular dental care could have alleviated, but which Medicaid doesn't cover.