How Healthy is Your County?

How healthy is your county?

There is an important report that came out a few weeks ago that didn’t get as much press as I hoped it would.  County Health Rankings is an annual report, published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a think tank in Washington, DC.

They have a great interactive chart and you can look at every county in the US to see how you rank by state.  I live in one of the healthier states (Massachusetts is 3rd overall) and I live in the 3rd healthiest county in the state so I’m feeling pretty good.  Go ahead and see how you rank … then come back!

The findings are interesting … generally you’re going to be healthier if:

  • you live in an urban/surburban environment vs. rural
  • you’re well educated
  • you don’t smoke
  • you have easy access to health care
  • your income is above the poverty line
  • you have access to healthy foods
  • you have access to outdoor areas

This report highlights some of the big social issues that are woven into the fiber of our country.  When I see people like Jamie Oliver I applaud them for their efforts to improve the lives of the people who have the least information and the least access. Oliver is about to launch Food Revolution, a show where he goes into a local community in West Virginia and teaches people how to cook healthy food.

If you live in a poorly ranked county, what can you do to help your neighbors?  There is a significant increase of premature death in the poorest counties; you’re literally losing your friends and family sooner than you have to.  What can you do about that?

Something to think about,

Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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3 Responses to How Healthy is Your County?

  1. Dansull123 March 10, 2010 at 10:58 am #

    Are they considering premature deaths to be deaths before or after 63 years of age?
    The global life expectancy average is 63yo, if they used say 82, the false life expectancy perpetrated by our obsession with modern “medicine” it would drastically skew the numbers in favor of their report.

  2. Lisa Johnson March 10, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    hmmm, good question, this is a US based research project (they do this annually) so I’m pretty sure they are using the US number, not global. I’ll see if I can find out for you.

    Lisa

  3. Joe Williams March 10, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    Great information, Lisa. Thanks! I see that my suburban Houston county is ranked towards the middle of Texas’s 254 counties.

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