Ranking the capital region's healthiest counties

Ranking the capital region's healthiest counties

Schuylkill County ranked 64th out of Pennsylvania's 67 counties, Luzerne County came in at 62nd and Carbon County ranked 54th, according to 2017 County Health Rankings, which looked at how long people live and how healthy they felt while alive. The county ranks highly compared to other counties in the state for characteristics that are often associated with good health outcomes - median income* (7th highest), income level for the 20th percentile (4th highest), child poverty (3rd lowest rate), and education (3rd highest for population with some college).

The overall rankings in health outcomes represent how healthy counties are within the state.

In McDowell County, the unhealthiest, 30 percent of people are considered in poor to fair health. In Boone County, malignant neoplasms is the leading cause of premature death with about 86 percent; suicide is the lowest with 14 percent. From 2014 to 2015, 85 percent of the increase in premature deaths can be attributed to a swift increase in deaths among these younger Americans.

Wabasha County ranks ninth in health outcomes and 13th in health factors, while Dakota County ranks 12th in health outcomes and fifth in health factors, according to the report.

"The County Health Rankings show us that where people live plays a key role in how long and how well they live", said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, foundation president and CEO, in a news release.

"A lot of time people don't think of drug overdoses as injuries", she said.

However, she said the county's high school for physical environment was encouraging, as was the 92 percent high school graduation rate. On the other extreme, Saratoga, Rockland, Nassau, Westchester and Putnam counties headed the top five healthiest counties in the ranking. The health factors component is itself a weighted composite of healthy behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment measures.

More news: HR 1628 - American Health Care Act of 2017

In Fayette and Raleigh counties, 36 percent of adults are obese.

The rankings are meant to show where a community can make improvements or build on strengths.

"Possibly not unrelated to that is a high rate of sexually transmitted infections", he said, adding, "We know that in many cases those two - drinking and STIs - go hand in hand".

"We are celebrating the improvements that have been made in the county, but also want to draw attention to our decline in the health factor ranking which moved from 6 to 15", he said.

About 4.9 million young people in the USA - one out of eight - fall into this category.

Under the umbrella of the Partnership for a Healthy Community, it's a long-term collaborative effort to improve the overall health of residents in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

"Communities addressing issues such as poverty, unemployment, and education can make a difference creating opportunities for all youth and young adults".

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