How Does Your County Rank in Overall Health?
This year’s County Health Rankings, which size up the relative health of people in more than 3,000 US counties, was released Tuesday. And although each county was only compared to others within the same state, there are some interesting and revealing general findings.
For example, counties with a higher proportion of college-educated residents had a lower number of premature deaths, lower smoking rates, less physical inactivity and obesity and fewer teen births — which didn’t surprise Pat Remington, an associate dean at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health who served as the study’s director.
“High school dropout rates may not be directly related to cancer or heart disease, but they are indirectly related,” he said. “If you have a community with a high number of high school dropouts, with a high unemployment rate and with children living in poverty, you can absolutely predict that poor health outcomes will be coming down the road.”
“[When] you’re unemployed, you’re likely to be without insurance and to have a lot of stress in your life,” he continued. “You often give up hope and that often leads to substance abuse and other self-destructive behaviors. So all these things are part of a web of health.”
Curious about how your own county ranks within your state? Check out CountyHealthRankings.org.