County health rankings in the TN Valley

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"There are things you can do within your state or your county or your community more locally that can change these indicators". The rankings are based on a wide variety of data and use the most recent results, which can be from early as 2014 or 2015.

"We can't be a healthy, thriving nation if we continue to leave entire communities and populations behind", said Dr. Richard Besser, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. However, an expert with the Kansas Health Institute said it's still impressive to be in the top quartile. The Institute works across the full spectrum of factors that contribute to health.

In the outcome category, quality of life and length of life are considered the top concerns.

At the other end of the list, Quitman has a high rate of premature deaths and of low birthweight babies.

The county's ranking for health factors - 30 measures relating to health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic and physical environment values - has been up and down. Broome County experiences a high rate of childhood poverty at 24%, while NYS is at 21%.

Severe housing problems have stayed fairly flat between 20 and 22 percent for the past five years in Douglas County. "But it doesn't matter how good our clinical care is if our community members can't access it".

Where you live influences how well and how long you live, new rankings show.

Let's look at children around the Capital area.

Sevcik said the group has worked with community partners to promote bike and walk viability in the region.

The regional partnership of Brown, Nicollet, Waseca and Le Sueur counties provide small grants to schools and other organizations to build gardens or establish other features to benefit community health.

"We utilize resources together and we are able to stretch those resources", she said.

The rankings representat a snapshot that compares counties within states. "There's a perception then among the public that we're doing a good job".

Dutchess County ranked 14th for health outcomes and ninth for health factors an improvement from 17th in health outcomes a year ago.

Those gathering the data behind the rankings say the reports can be used to target areas of improvement in communities lagging behind the rest of the state. Alcohol-impaired driving deaths and sexually transmitted infections were significantly higher.

The Crater Health District (CHD), which includes the cities of Petersburg and Emporia, has hosted a number of training workshops over the a year ago on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), trauma-informed care and resilience within the district.

During 2018, Nicollet County Public Health will add another focus on mental wellbeing. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.

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