Franklin County rises in latest health index report

Dutchess, Ulster among healthy places to live

When it comes to overall health, only seven counties in IL rank worse than St. Clair County.

The county health department reviews the rankings but does not use them for planning purposes, a change made past year after the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation tweaked its methodology.

Rounding out the top five were Oconee, Fayette, Gwinnett and Cherokee counties.

- 91 in health behaviors, the same as previous year.

Springfield Public Health Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris told 22News what work needs to be done; "In many places in Hampden County, we're dealing with a high poverty rate".

Drug overdose deaths are part of the challenge here, said Amy Westbrook, public health division director for the St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services Department.

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Sonoma County is now the fifth healthiest county in the state, according the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's 2017 County Health Rankings.

The study compares counties within each of the 50 states on good health and wellness. The report showed that 17 percent of the county residents had poor to fair health, compared to the 16 percent on the state level.

The county ranked 61st in the clinical care category, which includes percent of uninsured individuals, physician, dentist and mental health provider to population ratio. "We continue to show strong health outcomes".

Cathy Harding, chair of Healthy Communities Wyandotte's steering committee, said the county can point to some successes. "Life expectancy across zip codes in the same county can vary significantly", Parker said.

Authors of the 2017 County Health Rankings Report, which uses the most recent available data, define a premature death as any death from any cause before the age of 75.

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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Schwarz said nationwide, the latest survey shows a significant spike in premature death rates, with drug overdoses playing an important role in the increase. Twenty-one percent of Douglas County residents reported "severe housing problems", well above the statewide figure of 14 percent.

Health outcomes include premature deaths, which in Allen rose from 7,000 per 100,000 residents past year to 7,200 per 100,000.

David Howard, an Emory University health policy expert, said Wednesday that the report authors "are definitely steering policymakers in a certain direction". As each year's rankings are published, their value grows by providing a comparative history of the key measures used in the ranking system. "Here in our state, there are big differences in outcomes and quality of life".

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The high school graduation rate is 80 percent, but the unemployment rate is 13 percent.


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