County could be much healthier

Long-time patient Dorys Grover gives a bag of books to Dr. Norman Sitz during a checkup on Tuesday in Pendleton

One of the connections this report illuminates between race and place is that segregated communities of color are more likely to be cut off from investments that promote good schools, affordable housing, and other opportunities for health. "We look forward to using this year's County Health Rankings data to help inform our work".

"The health department, our hospitals and many community partners are working together to raise awareness about clinical access to care and the social determinants of health that contribute to health outcomes", Hunter said.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation CEO Richard Besser explains "our health is influenced by many things, like a good education, a good job, access to quality housing and quality healthcare". Low birth weight is a key measure of health and quality of life. You can search for your county by clicking on the link at the side of this story, then typing in your zip code.

While Milwaukee County's health behaviors largely match those of the state as a whole, there were notable differences in its rates of sexually transmitted infection and teen pregnancy. The Institute leads the work on the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and manages the RWJF Culture of Health Prize.

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The County Health Rankings report also includes data on racial disparity, and Rivas observed a wide gap in MS regarding teen births and low birthweight, even in the overall healthier counties.

Analyzing all of North Carolina's 100 counties shows a clear correlation between median household income and health outcomes.

Forsyth County is ranked as Georgia's healthiest county for the sixth straight year.

"Years went by before the high infant mortality rate in Forsyth County saw dramatic improvement", Plyler said.

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Ranked against Indiana's 92 counties, Allen improved on one primary indicator - health factors - but slipped further on the other - health outcomes.

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

Oakman also says that the childhood poverty rate is a major factor in Washington County's ranking; there, the rate is 28 percent.

"Health rankings change slowly, and health improvement may take decades, but we are not waiting around for nothing to happen".

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