County health rankings out: How does your county stack up?

Dr. Norman Sitz checks a patient’s medical record while working in his office Tuesday in Pendleton

Dr. Norman Sitz checks a patient’s medical record while working in his office Tuesday in Pendleton. Buy this

Woo was also happy to see Bexar County has nearly twice the number of mental health providers per person when compared with the state average. "Do you live in affordable housing in a safe neighborhood?"

Matt Trujillo, a program officer with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, says the trends reflected by the Wyandotte County data are not unique.

The foundation has four main recommendations: increased early childhood education investment; increase or supplement income for low-income households; expand health insurance coverage and access to health services; and enhance support of community collaborative social initiatives.

The category considers health behaviors, clinical care, physical environment, and social and economic factors.

"The rankings have been very instrumental in driving community conversation and it has created a lot of energy in terms of community voice, community input and community drive to improve the health of the community", Hart said.

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Taking third and fourth place are Saline and Faulkner counties. The obesity rate is 32 percent, and 28 percent of the population is physically inactive.

The county rankings are far from the only data public health officials like Moritz use to inform their priorities.

Of the counties surrounding Philadelphia, Chester ranks first in health outcomes, Montgomery is ranked fourth, Bucks is ranked seventh and DE is ranked 49th. Racine was No. 61 and 62 for health outcomes and factors, respectively, while Kenosha came in at No. 59 and 66. UW Population Health Institute.

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".

"The reason why we provide these rankings is because they're kind of a catalyst to take action", he said.

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The counties partner with Watonwan County as part of the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership, established across the state to create healthier communities.

"In addressing this we need to go beyond just making sure people can see a doctor".

Lake County ranked dead last in the survey of 57 counties, down one spot from past year.

"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.

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