How healthy is your county?

March 20, 2013
How healthy is your county?
People living in the least healthy areas of U.S. twice as likely to die early, report says.

(HealthDay)—Rates of premature death in counties across the United States are the lowest in 20 years, but people in the least healthy counties are more than twice as likely to die early as those in the healthiest counties, according to a new report.

In addition, childhood poverty rates in unhealthy counties are twice as high as those in healthy counties, according to the 2013 County Health Rankings released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Institute.

This is the fourth year of the , which examine 25 factors that influence health, including rates of smoking, obesity levels, , access to doctors and dentists, child poverty, physical activity levels, high school graduation rates and percentages of children living in single-parent homes.

The rankings also take into account how long people live and how well they feel.

This year's rankings identified significant new national trends:

  • Child poverty rates have not improved since 2000, and more than one in five children currently lives in poverty.
  • has decreased by almost 50 percent over the past two decades.
  • Counties where people don't live as long and have poorer physical and mental health have the highest rates of smoking, teen births, and preventable hospital stays.
  • Teen birth rates are more than twice as high in the least healthy counties as in the healthiest counties.
  • People in healthier counties are 1.4 times more likely to have access to a doctor and dentist than those in the least healthy counties.
The rankings "can be put to use right away by leaders in government, business, health care and every citizen motivated to work together to create a culture of health in their community," Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in a County Health Rankings news release. "The rankings are driving innovation, unleashing creativity and inspiring big changes to improve health in communities large and small throughout the country."

Dr. Patrick Remington, professor and associate dean at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, said no single sector alone can tackle the health challenges in any given community.

"Collaboration is critical," he said in the news release. "The rankings are sparking action all over the country as people from all sectors join forces to create new possibilities in health—county by county."

Explore further: US teen birth rates highest in rural areas, research shows

More information: Here's where you can find the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps.

Related Stories

More poor kids in more poor places, study finds

October 18, 2011

Persistent high poverty is most prevalent among children, with those living in rural America disproportionally impacted, according to researchers from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

Recommended for you

Vitamin D supplements could help pain management

May 23, 2017

Vitamin D supplementation combined with good sleeping habits may help manage pain-related diseases. This paper published in the Journal of Endocrinology, reviews published research on the relationship between vitamin D levels, ...

Recommended daily protein intake too low for the elderly

May 23, 2017

You can find the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) on the nutrition labels of all your processed food. Food manufacturers are obliged to list the nutritional value of their products, and therefore must mention the percent ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.