Fresno is one of the unhealthiest counties in the state. That's the latest report from a University of Wisconsin study. The report looked at the well-being of people living in 57 California counties. Fresno ranked 46th.
David Luchanie works with the Department of Public Health. He says Fresno's high poverty level is a major contributing factor.
“If you look at the rankings, the demographic; we have highest unemployment, highest poverty. Traditionally when you see this type of demographic you see lower rankings when it comes to health” says Luchanie.
It's a problem The Department of Social Services says is often overlooked.
“I think most people aren't really aware of how prevalent poverty is. It's not just in Fresno County or the state but across the nation” says Sanja Kovacevic with the Department of Social Services.
The report also revealed the county struggles with poor health behavior.
Fresno ranked high in sexually transmitted infections, teen birth rates and substance abuse.
“When you're on substances you make poor choices a lot of times, especially when you talk about sexual behavior and protecting one self from diseases” says Luchanie.
Health officials, here in the valley, say education is the key to turning things around. The Health Department says it could take five to 10 years before Fresno sees any improvement in its rankings.