When combining health and wealth, Forsyth is among the top counties in the state.
According to a recent study, Forsyth ranks third in the state when combining county health outcomes with economic rankings. Forsyth followed Oconee and Fayette counties, which tied for the top spot.
James McCoy, president and chief executive officer of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce said the county’s ranking is a “result of a lot of very positive factors.”
“There has been strong leadership for a long time and those folks have been working for … years to help put the things in place that have helped make this community so great,” McCoy said.
“There have been really good decisions made along the way as we have grown and continue to make wise investments in the infrastructure that supports our very high quality of life.”
The Partner Up! for Public Health Campaign’s Health & Economic Power Ratings were funded by the Healthcare Georgia Foundation and used health rankings from the University of Wisconsin and economic rankings from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. The project is being managed by Hayslett Group.
The rankings are part of a larger campaign called “Connecting the Dots: Community Health & Economic Vitality,” which is aimed at educating the public and leaders about the relationship between the health of local populations and economies.
“You’d think this would be intuitive,” said Charles Hayslett, CEO of Hayslett Group. “We all know that we’re more productive when we’re healthy than when we’re down with a cold or the flu or something worse. The same is true at a community level.
“As we’ve pursued this campaign over the past couple of years, it’s become more and more apparent that this linkage simply is not well appreciated by a lot of people, including some in leadership positions.”
To that end, he continued, they decided they needed to “try to reintroduce the concept into the public dialogue about health status and the role of the public health system in securing and improving the health of all Georgians.”
Macon County in southwest Georgia finished last in the study. Cherokee, Gwinnett and Cobb counties were included in the top 10, with neighboring Hall County ranking 13th.
The study looked at earlier research from the university, which ranked the state’s counties by how healthy people feel and how long they live and other various health standards like obesity statistics, access to clinical care and violent crime rates. In that study, Forsyth ranked second, following Fayette County, which is south of Atlanta.
“There are several takeaways from this,” Hayslett said. “The most basic is that if a county does well in either health status or economic vitality, it’s likely to do well in the other and vice versa.
“If they do poorly in one, they tend to do poorly in the other. The clustering appears to be strongest at the top and bottom of the list.”
McCoy said since the construction of Ga. 400, the community has been welcoming those who take their health and financial stability seriously.
“People who are financially stable and successful — and I would add, too, well-educated — are very focused on their health,” he said.
“And on the other side of that is the organizations like Northside Hospital-Forsyth that have made really, really wise investments that have helped us to stay healthy.”