Feature Story

No. 12 Healthiest U.S. Community

March 29, 2018 – by Ohio Wesleyan University

Ohio Wesleyan students and professor Christopher Fink teach local ‘Cooking Matters’ classes to help people understand how to prepare healthy meals and work to address food insecurity issues. The group’s efforts helped Delaware County earn a new ranking as one of the nation’s healthiest communities. (Photo by Spenser Hickey ’15)

Professor Christopher Fink Discusses Delaware’s New Ranking with U.S. News & World Report

When U.S. News & World Report began exploring what makes Delaware one of the nation’s healthiest counties, one of the experts consulted by the news magazine was Ohio Wesleyan University’s Christopher Fink.

Fink, Ph.D., associate professor of Health and Human Kinetics (HHK), told writer John Ettorre that collaboration among many different public-private groups is key to the county’s health.

“The engagement level of all these partners feels really different here. It’s unusual,” Fink told the reporter in discussing Delaware’s No. 12 ranking among the nation’s 500 healthiest communities. The magazine released its new 2018 rankings on March 26.

Fink co-chairs the Partnership for a Healthy Delaware County, a community coalition that works together to set public health priorities. He said one priority of special concern to the HHK department and OWU students is food insecurity.

“Our Cooking Matters program, which OWU students are in charge of planning, delivering, and evaluating, is one of the primary strategies for positively impacting food insecurity markers in Delaware County,” Fink said.

“Of great importance also is the work of local food pantries and social service agencies,” Fink continued, “and it is because of our collaboration that we can all make such an impact in this effort. But, without the thoughtful, caring work of our students, none of this would be possible.

“While we get generous funding from the United Way of Delaware County, and support from many community partners,” he concluded, “it is our students who carry out this work, and I feel honored to get to work with them in making it happen.”

For its 2018 U.S. News Healthiest Communities rankings, U.S. News & World Report explored “the critical role location plays in determining the health and well-being of some 325 million Americans.” The magazine assessed nearly 3,000 counties and county equivalents on factors including economic performance, education achievement, public safety, and traditional health outcomes.

Read Ettorre’s complete article on Delaware, “It Takes a Village to Keep a County Healthy.” Learn more about OWU’s Health and Human Kinetics department and its majors in general HHK, health promotion, sports and exercise management, exercise science, and nutrition.