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,