Washington County has the eighth-healthiest population in the state, a twostep improvement over last year, according to the 2014 County Health Rankings released Wednesday by a coalition of public health services.
This year’s rankings feature several new measures including housing, transportation and access to mental health providers.
The rankings list the overall health of almost every county in all 50 states, providing comparable data counties can use to see how they are doing on 29 factors influencing health, which include smoking, high school graduation rates, employment, physical inactivity and access to healthy foods.
Last year, county residents ranked 10th among the state’s 72 counties, according to the survey conducted by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, Madison, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, N.J.
In 2012, Washington County was sixth, one notch lower than its finish in the first two years of the annual reports, 2011 and 2010.
This year, Washington County ranked eighth for health outcomes and fifth in health factors. The county finished eighth for health behaviors and clinical care, and sixth for social and economic factors.
Washington County was in the bottom half for physical environment, 60th.
“The (county) will continue to collaborate with local organizations such as the Healthy People Project of Washington County and the Washington County Injury Prevention Coalition to achieve our mission of promoting health, preventing disease, and protecting the public,” Walter said.
The five healthiest counties in Wisconsin are Ozaukee first, followed by Kewaunee, Portage, Taylor and Door. The five counties in the poorest health, starting with the least healthy, are Menominee, Milwaukee, Adams, Marquette and Forest.
“The County Health Rankings are a starting point for change, helping communities come together, identify priorities and create solutions that will help all in our diverse society live healthier lives,” said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF president and CEO.
The rankings provide county-to-county comparisons within a state.
Nationally, the rankings show that people living in the least healthy counties are twice as likely to have shorter lives as people in the healthiest counties. Unhealthy counties also have twice as many children living in poverty and twice as many teen births. The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute is part of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.
Go to the website www.hppwc.org for more information on the Healthy People Project of Washington County. The County Health Rankings are available at www.countyhealth rankings.org. The Washington County Health Department website is www.co.washington. wi.us/chn.