County Health Rankings show mixed results for Rock County

Annual health rankings report places Petersburg last in state

Rockland ranks healthiest county in state, Sullivan remains next to worst

The rankings representat a snapshot that compares counties within states.

In health outcomes, the highest-ranking counties in descending order are Chester, Centre, Union, Montgomery, Butler, Cumberland, Bucks, Lancaster, Franklin and Adams.

The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI), compares counties within each state on more than 30 health-influencing factors such as education, jobs, and access to quality health care.

The least healthy county is Fayette, followed by Scott, Grant, Madison and Crawford, according to the report.

Jefferson County ranked 11th among the 58 Colorado counties that produced enough information to be measured against the others, while Arapahoe County was 16th, Adams County 36th and Denver County 38th.

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The rankings are determined by a series of factors, dumped into two buckets of Health Outcomes and Health Factors.

"It's always nice to see our rank high", Public Health Director Mary Hildebrandt said.

"We have a wonderful Safety Net Coalition here in Buncombe County", notes Jeff Heck, President and CEO of Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC), a safety net member, primary care provider, and education center serving Buncombe and 15 other counties across Western North Carolina.

Axler says the rankings are used to help identify gaps in service and address barriers to health care.

Cambria County's annual unemployment rate of 6.9 percent and its 23 percent of children living in poverty were among the economic factors that led to poor health, the report says. Its uninsured rate is 19 percent, and 45 percent of its children are living in poverty. These initiatives lift the efforts of individuals and neighborhoods as they develop essential community-based infrastructures for improved health and wellness outcomes. "Do you live in affordable housing in a safe neighborhood?" Especially when looking at rising low birth weights.

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Near the top of the list, Eaton County is the 16th healthiest county in the state. These rankings use specific data related to health outcomes and health factors to evaluate community health nationwide.

"That is significant and an area of concern because we know that is a forecast of those children's future if they're growing up in poverty", Jerome said.

Spegman also said the numbers are mostly there to get people thinking about their community's health. The same weight is applied to poor physical health days, and Douglas County falls in the worst 20 in that category as well.

Overall, Tilden said this report each year gives the health department an opportunity to highlight challenging issues and face them in coming years.

Rankings are available at the website

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