Embarrassing ranking

Published 9:31 pm Thursday, April 5, 2012

This week’s disturbing news that Franklin citizens are among the least healthy in Virginia should be a call to action for the community’s leadership.
According to a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, Franklin ranks 127th out of 131 Virginia cities and counties in health outcomes.
Unusually high rates of unemployment, poverty, smoking and premature deaths were among the criteria used in the study, which ranks only Petersburg, Emporia, Buchanan County and Dickinson County as less healthy than Franklin. It’s a bottom five that Franklin should want no part of.
The city’s elected and appointed leadership should not accept the ranking as inevitable or uncorrectable. There are many good partners – from the Obici Healthcare Foundation to the James L. Camp Jr. YMCA – that stand ready to help change Franklin citizens’ health outcomes for the better.
That help must be sought and embraced. As a community, we can do better.