South central counties among the state's healthiest

Sonoma County is seventh-healthiest county in the state sArtHead =

New health data released today reinforces an all too familiar narrative of the counties in Mississippi: Those in the Delta struggle, while the affluent communities remain on top.

The County Health Rankings, a system that uses a variety of statistics to measure health factors and outcomes, listed Rankin as the healthiest county (unseating DeSoto, last year's top county), with DeSoto and Madison as Nos. 2 and 3 in the rankings.

Nicollet County ranked highly among counties in Minnesota, among the healthiest of states.

The report, released by the Princeton-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute, ranks the health of nearly every county in the country according to factors such as access to medical care, housing and violent crime. Together the two organizations release annual rankings for each state's counties.

For the 2018 Rankings, Broome County improved its Length of Life ranking to 52 out of 62 counties. Many of these behaviors are risk factors for chronic diseases, which are attributable to 7 out of 10 deaths in Broome County, and most importantly preventable.

Bronx, New York, Kings and Monroe counties had higher sexually transmitted infection rates higher than Onondaga.

Axler says the rankings are used to help identify gaps in service and address barriers to health care. Children in poverty are less likely to have access to well-resourced and quality schools, and have fewer chances to be prepared for living wage jobs.

"We can't be a healthy, thriving nation if we continue to leave entire communities and populations behind", Dr. Richard Besser, president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in a prepared statement. The same weight is applied to poor physical health days, and Douglas County falls in the worst 20 in that category as well.

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"What we're ultimately talking about is the access to opportunity in these counties, which can be governed by economic opportunity that leads to health outcomes".

There was a significant improvement in Broome County's ranking for health behaviors, going from 49 down to 35. The measures largely come from data already available to them or may not be as up to date as the research states collect.

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

Nationwide, the report said, racial differences in birth weight are greater than county differences in birth weight.

In Cambria County, 8,600 deaths people under the age of 75 died during the most recent year compiled.

Jackson County is a little behind at number 45. In Madison, the white teen birth rate was 9 per 100,000 teenage females, while the number is almost four times as high (34) for black female teens.

Rivas said the intentions of the rankings are to show what specific areas people can target to improve health at a local level.

Le Sueur County Public Health Director Cindy Shaugnessy said that they look to fight issues like obesity and smoking in the area in conjuniction with surrounding counties.


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