Health Care

Livingston County among state's 10 healthiest counties

Livingston County among state's 10 healthiest counties”

The 2018 County Health Rankings and Roadmaps ranked Rock County as 58th out of 72 counties in the state for health outcomes and 65th for health factors.

The ranking equaled Cambria's lowest since the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute began compiling the County Health Rankings in 2011.

"The variety and amount of data used in these Rankings is a reminder that good health is simply not just good medical care", said Dr. Christopher Ryan, Medical Director, "There are factors called social determinants of health, which include housing, education, jobs and more, a community can do something about these factors to improve health outcomes".

Cambria County's annual unemployment rate of 6.9 percent and its 23 percent of children living in poverty were among the economic factors that led to poor health, the report says. Minnesota typically fares well healthwise in state-to-state measures, but disparities can be vast between different counties. Nicollet and Brown counties again finished strong in fifth and seventh place, but none of the others finished higher than 40th.

Mahnomen County finished last, with the study citing higher than average rates of adults who smoke and obesity, among other factors.

The least healthy county is Fayette, followed by Scott, Grant, Madison and Crawford, according to the report. "For example, in some of the lower-performing counties in MS, the children poverty rate is very high, there's a very low median household income, and that usually correlates to access to health care in terms of providing better health outcomes in the long run". While Nicollet County's rank improved, Le Sueur and Waseca counties' rank dropped.

In the nine years of the rankings, Livingston County has been as high as number one and never lower than 12th among New York's 62 counties. The measures largely come from data already available to them or may not be as up to date as the research states collect. Still, the rankings add on to the other measures they look at, Moritz said.

"We definitely look at this and see what areas we need to try harder on improvements", she said.

Communities use the rankings to garner support for health initiatives among government agencies, health care providers, community organizations, business leaders, policymakers and the public.

Public health officials are required to do comprehensive community assessments every five years and then develop a plan to address the top identified issues.

When looking at those factors, out of the state's 83 counties, Ingham County is considered the 31st healthiest county in the state.

For example, the county's teen birth rate of 15 births per 100,000 females between age 15 and 19 is far below the state's rate of 24, and matches the nation's "top performers".

But, she credits most of the county's public health work to its association with a regional group, the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership.

Just like we get yearly check-ups, an annual report released Monday morning provided a "health snapshot" of almost every county in the U.S.

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