March 18, 2018

County Health Rankings Improve

14 March 2018, 11:27 | Lena Norman

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

Annual health rankings report places Petersburg last in state

A new report gives a breakdown of health statistics of almost every county in the United States.

Health factors, a measure of a county's health behaviors, clinical care, socioeconomic factors and physical environment, show more scattershot county results. "We need to come together and collectively address child poverty and health, at the state level and in each county, if we want Wisconsin to proudly be one of the healthiest states in the country". Livingston County ranked 54th. "But it doesn't matter how good our clinical care is if our community members can't access it".

Allen County's quality of life has consistently been ranked in the 50s the last few years. This year's report shows Blacks in more segregated counties fare worse in rates of child poverty, infant mortality, and high school graduation than those in less segregated counties. In 2017, the county was ranked fifth for health outcomes and second for health factors.

"Unfortunately Philadelphia ranks lowest, for many years", she said.

Forsyth County's statistics including an 11 percent uninsured rate, vs. 16 percent statewide; low rates of premature deaths, teen births and STDs; and just 7 percent of children living in poverty, vs. 23 percent statewide.

When it comes to health factors, Forsyth was ranked 43rd.

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Of the 67 counties in the Sunshine State, St. Johns County is the healthiest and Union County is the least healthy.

David Plyler, the chairman of the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners, said the county could remain at its current ranking in the short term because "instant success is not always prevalent".

All three were in the highest category of the rankings starting at the top 22 healthiest ranks in the state in both years.

Petersburg is the least healthy place to live in Virginia. This can be a significant indicator of future health status.

Still, the rankings add on to the other measures they look at, Moritz said. "I applaud those who are working to create healthy, connected communities and improve health opportunities for all people in Virginia". Available data show that, for the majority of US counties, child poverty rates for American Indian/Alaskan Native, Black, or Hispanic children are higher than rates for White children, and these rates are often twice as high.

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