County Health Rankings compare counties in each state

5:20 PM, Apr 3, 2012   |    comments
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - A big study released on Tuesday highlights the healthiest and least healthiest counties in every state in the nation.

Smoking, access to health care and education are all measured in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin County Health Rankings for 2012

With a new interactive map, counties can compare their health to other counties in their state, in many categories including two new ones, the number of fast food restaurants and physical inactivity rates.

Dr. Patrick Remington of the University of Wisconsin and director of the County Health Rankings said, "We know that this info will help communities as they face the obesity epidemic and try to put into place changes that can help people eat right and also be active."

It ranks counties in other health factors too, including social issues like employment and behavioral issues like diet. 

In Minnesota, Olmstead County is the healthiest when it comes to health factors. Beltrami county ranks last.

Counties are not only ranked on factors that contribute to health but also on outcomes.

For health outcomes, Steele County ranked number one and Cass county was last.

Overall, Carver County did well in both categories ranking second in each.

But Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health, Ed Ehlinger said, "Our job is not to have a number one and a number 87.  Our job is to make everybody as healthy as possible and this is just one tool to help people really improve at a county level what their level of health is."

The health rankings are a great tool for counties but how do they help an individual?

Commissioner Ehlinger said they may inspire people to get involved in improving the health of their counties.

He said, "We live in communities and our health is affected by the community.  So if we live in a healthy community, we're more likely to be healthy ourselves."

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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