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Martinsville and Henry County reach out to community to stay healthy

Health officials team with doctors and economic leaders to provide resources for staying healthy.

Justin Ward

WDBJ7 Reporter

2:49 PM PDT, April 3, 2013

MARTINSVILLE, Va.

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Health officials in Southern Virginia are not letting a recent ranking define access to health care in the region.

We first told you last month about a report naming Martinsville and Henry County as two of the unhealthiest places in the state.

Since then health leaders have reached out to WDBJ7. They say there is better health care than what that report showed.

Employees at the Virginia Health Department in Martinsville are pushing healthy living and providing resources for people needing care.

Not only because it's National Public Heath Week, but it's also an issue they people need to hear.

"Public health is something a lot of people don't think about but it involves every aspect of our lives," said Dr. Gordan Green with the Virginia Health Department's West Piedmont office.

Everything including what job we have and what's in our wallet.

The area is plagued with unemployment which helped give it a poor health ranking.

According to researchers with the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Martinsville ranked the eighth as the least healthiest city and Henry County ranked fifth out of 133 cities and counties in Virginia.

Researchers broadened the term "public health" to include unemployment, education, and access the health care.

"In 2011 when they did this Martinsville had a physical environment rating of three. This year 114th. I'm not sure what's happened. I think they've changed the way to process the numbers," Dr. Green said.

Doctors offices, the health department and the chamber of commerce team up each year to provide mammograms, marathons to promote healthy lifestyles, and recruit primary care doctors.

"We're also trying to partner with people in the community to make sure from an outreach standpoint people's awareness is raised before they need to be in the hospital," said Skip Philips, the CEO of Martinsville Memorial Hospital.

According to the study, a poor diet and drug and alcohol use without using health care available isn't only a bad look for you, it's hurting your hometown.

It's safe to say the health care community is working tirelessly to fight the stigmas this report gives the region.

Leaders are using it as a reference, but certainly not a brand.