Report ranks Douglas County as seventh healthiest in Kansas

Tabitha Dunn
March 30, 2017

The latest Connecticut County Health rankings were released Wednesday, and the result show the huge differences between each county across the state.

Los Alamos County ranks healthiest in New Mexico, according to the 2017 County Health Rankings, released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

According to the County Health Rankings' data, 42 percent of adult residents in McDowell County are obese.

Bibb County ranked 142 out of all 159 counties in Georgia for health outcomes, while Houston County ranked 27; Jones County, 28; Monroe County, 51 and Peach County, 101, according to the rankings. Premature deaths and drug overdoses were highest among whites and Native Americans.

Drug overdoses are one reason premature deaths are on the rise across the nation after dropping for years.

The county has the sixth longest life span and the 4,400 counts of premature deaths in Queens in the past year - those who die before the mean age of 75 - was below the state average of 5,300, the report showed.

The list is based on overall rankings in health outcomes, which are based on how long people live and how healthy people feel, and overall rankings in health factors, which are based on four types of measures: health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environmental factors.

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Twenty-one percent of MI residents are smokers, compared to 17 percent nationally, and 20 percent of state residents are "heavy drinkers" compared to 17 percent of people across the country.

The annual report also introduced a new metric this year that focused on young people between 16-24 years old who are not in school or working.

"Rural areas, in particular, have higher rates of premature death than other areas and, in terms of drug overdoses, that is absolutely a crisis that has affected all community types, but we have most certainly seen an accelerated rate in suburban and smaller metro counties", Davie explained.

"This affirms what we know in public health to be true, that the currency of inequality is years of life", said Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore's health commissioner.

In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Marjory Givens, deputy director of data and science at the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, pointed out that this is only one element explaining regional differences in health outcomes.

Housing, as in past years, also hurt Douglas County's ranking for physical environment. Douglas County ranked No.17, down six spots from a year ago. The survey shows 22 percent of children in the county, live in poverty. Its 645 violent crimes is topped only by Miami-Dade's 650, and its rate of sexually transmitted infections is the highest in the state.

In exploring West Virginia's premature death trends from 1997 to 2014, the Foundation found seven counties (Berkeley, Gilmer, Jefferson, Mineral, Monongalia, Morgan and Ohio) have seen improvements in premature death rates, while 21 have seen worsening rates and the rest saw no change.

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