Saturday 25 Oct 2014

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Foundation releases nationwide county health rankings

Published: 3:36 pm CDT, March 26, 2014

The latest county-by-county ranking of the nation’s health is a “revealing snapshot of where we live, learn, work and play,” according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, which released the report Wednesday.

The County Health Rankings report measures factors like high school graduation rates, obesity, smoking, unemployment, access to healthy foods, air and water quality, income and teen births in nearly every county in America. The goal is to help understand health problems in communities, get more people involved in improving them and recognize that factors outside medical care influence health.

While the report compares counties within states, it doesn’t compare states with other states. The rankings show that people who live in a healthy community find it easier to lead a healthy lifestyle, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. For example, those who live in communities with smoke-free laws are less likely to smoke, which reduces heart disease and other serious illnesses. People who live in areas with lots of walking paths are more likely to be physically active, while those who live in communities with access to grocery stores are more likely to eat healthy, nutritious foods.

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