Rapid City - Health & Wellness
Statistics on health and wellness are generally reported on a county basis. Pennington County ranked 37th among 57 South Dakota counties scored on the basis of health outcomes in 2013, according to a collaborative project conducted by the Population Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Pennington County ranked 28st among 57 counties on the basis of health factors. Based on comparing local information to state and national data, young people are especially at risk. The teen birth rate is higher than state and national averages, the graduation rate is lower, and more children live in poverty and in single parent households.
Regarding other segments of the population, there are also higher rates of risky behavior as indicated by a greater percentage of adults smoking. In addition, the incidence of sexually transmitted infections exceeds the state average and is over five times the national average. To compare Pennington County to other counties, go to: County Health Rankings: Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health. For more data related to the risks faced by young people in Pennington County, see data provided by Kids Count at the University of South Dakota.
Best Cities for Aging
In 2012, the Milken Institute released their first index of the Best Cities for Successful Aging. Although warm southern states like Florida have usually been considered prime retirement spots, it was the Midwest that scored highest; Sioux Falls placed number one on small metros, and Rapid City was number 10 out of 259 small cities.
Rapid City was praised for its good economy, high employment rates for seniors, inexpensive inpatient hospitalization rates. A shortage of good nursing homes kept the city from scoring higher, and the index suggested the city would benefit from more golf courses, parks, and trails.
Data from U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
County-level health statistics are also available from the U.S. Deparment of Health & Human Services. Compare Pennington County to similar counties in the United States and to the national median for the following subjects:
- Measures of birth and death. This data indicates that infant mortality and suicide rates in Pennington County are higher than in similar counties and in the nation as a whole.
With South Dakota Infant Mortality rates rising above the national average and surrounding states, Governor Daugaard formed a task force to investigate the issue and figure out ways to bring the rates down. The task forces findings and other information can be found on Infant Mortality in South Dakota.
The mental health of a community can be as in important as the physical health, but the afflictions are less visible and the resources for mental health are less well known. To find out what mental health resources are available in Rapid City and the surrounding areas, read A Guide to Mental Health Resources in the Black Hills.
Obesity, Tobacco, and Cancer
At the 2012 Data Matters Forum on Health, obesity, tobacco, and colorectal cancer were identified as three of highest causes of death in South Dakota that were preventable. The Department of Health has targeted these factors and has goals set for improvement by 2020.
One in four people in the Rapid City metropolitan area is obese, according to estimates by the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC). Another four out of ten are overweight. (According to the CDC, obesity correlates with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 30.0; overweight equals a BMI of more than 25.0)
A little over one in five adults in Pennington county smokes; County Health Rankings found 22% of adults are smokers.
An estimated 420 South Dakotans will develop colorectal cancer in 2012, and 160 will die from it. This form of cancer is almost 100% treatable if caught early, such as through regular screenings.
For more on these topics and the goals set by the Department of Health, read Obesity, Tobacco, and Cancer in South Dakota.
West Nile Virus
Pennington County has traditionally had a high rate of infection from West Nile Virus during the summer months. For more on the disease, look at the West Nile Virus in South Dakota.
In 2010, Rapid City was named the #1 Best Town in America for hunters and fishermen by Outdoor Life magazine, largely because of its proximity to the national forest; although falling a little, it was still well-regarded at #3 for 2011. The community was also named one of “50 Next Great Adventure Towns” by National Geographic Adventure magazine.
In Rapid City, anglers fish in Rapid Creek and Canyon Lake, which they share with paddle boats and canoes in summer. The city is defined by a 13-mile long bike path that winds through town along Rapid Creek. The greenway is a legacy of the 1972 flood that killed 238 people and destroyed homes along the creek. Community leaders have prevented development in the floodplain ever since, in memory of the lives and property lost to the flood.
Rapid City is home to 30 parks in addition to a recreation center and indoor ice rink, water parks, softball and baseball complexes, soccer complexes, golf courses, a disc golf course, a skateboard park, a “dirt jump” park, sand volleyball courts, tennis and racquetball courts, an outdoor track and two community gyms connected to local middle schools. The City of Rapid City provides a map of recreation areas and facilities.
Community sports leagues are available for athletes of all ages, from pre-schoolers to senior citizens. Fans also cheer for teams from local middle schools, high schools, and universities, as well as two American Legion baseball teams: Post 22 and Post 320.
In the past 10 years Rapid City has ushered in a new sports era by building two city-owned hockey rinks and welcoming the Rapid City Rush. This Central Hockey League team, starting with the 2008-2009 season, has consistently drawn large crowds and introduced more Black Hills residents to the sport. The Rush won the league cup in its second season, 2009-10.
Main Street Square, a downtown Rapid City attraction featuring water fountains in summer and an outdoor ice-skating rink in winter, opened in October 2011.