Wednesday, February 17, 2010 (Last Updated: 02/18/2010)
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- For the first time, the nation's physicians, patients, and government officials can see how their county ranks in terms of health and longevity, according to a new set of reports released Feb. 17 at a press briefing in Washington, D.C.
Compiled by researchers from the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the "County Health Rankings" ranks each county within each of the 50 states in measures of overall health and important health indicators such as rates of smoking; obesity; binge drinking; violent crime; unemployment; air pollution; children living in poverty; liquor store and fast-food restaurant density; and access to primary care providers, healthy food, and recreational facilities.
The researchers found that poorly ranked counties had doubled or even tripled rates of premature death; high rates of smoking, obesity, unemployment, and poverty; and limited access to healthy food. They also found that highly ranked counties were more likely to have a high rate of employment, and greater access to health care providers, healthy food, and recreational facilities.
"For the first time, people have a tool to help identify what is making people in every county unhealthy," Patrick Remington, M.D., associate dean for public health at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, said in a statement. "We hope this kind of check-up will mobilize community leaders to take action and invest in programs and policy changes that make their counties healthier places to live."
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