Report compares health of almost every county in nation

03/17/2016 04:00 | 67517

Report compares health of almost every county in nation

Morris County is the second-healthiest county in New Jersey, according to the seventh annual County Health Rankings released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. According to a press release from countyhealthrankings.org, the survey provides a snapshot comparing the overall health of almost every county in the nation demonstrating that where we live influences how well and how long we live.

Those elements and more make up the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's health ranking for Blue Earth County this year...which is the 43rd healthiest of 87 counties statewide.

There remains a strong correlation between income and health, at least in New Jersey's wealthiest and poorest counties, according to the most recent County Health Rankings report. "Higher rates of smoking, higher rates of obesity, but also social and economic factors, like higher rates of children living in poverty".

Esmeralda County was included in the rankings for the first time in the seven-year history of the report after lacking sufficient data in the past.

The county was below the statewide averages for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV prevalence, but had a relatively high teen birth rate (42 births per 1,000 in the 15-19 female population group).

Catlin noted that poor access to health care is only one reason for the worse health outcomes in rural areas.

Jen Rombalski, who became county health director last month, said the rankings demonstrate that residents "are making lots of good lifestyle and health care decisions that protect their health and that of their family".

Several other suburban counties fared well in the rankings.Kendall County was ranked No. 2 on the list whileMcHenry County received a No. 4 ranking on the list.

"We did this year see a pretty stark disparity with respect to premature death in rural counties as compared to others...."

But she said it shows countywide efforts to improve health are having a positive effect.

The Thomas Jefferson Health District says its next goal is improve surrounding counties that did not rank as highly.

"By focusing on access to health care, oral health and behavioral health, we are chipping away at health issues and making Brevard County a healthier community". Another has to do with rates of unemployment and the number of children in poverty.

"Plain and simple, people just need to get more physical activity", Oakley said. "Anyone can scour the data and see some real problems, but from a health department point of view, what we're trying to do is move forward with our Healthy by Design Coalition partners".


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