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New County Health Rankings Give First County-by-County Snapshot of Health in Each State

Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Special to suffredin.org

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute have unveiled a revolutionary new way to measure health, County Health Rankings: Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health (MATCH). The Rankings—a collection of 50 state reports— allows policy-makers to compare the health of counties in their state, and find ways to improve the health of their constituents.

These reports are the first to rank the overall health of every county in all 50 states—more than 3,000 total—by using a standard formula to measure how healthy people are and how long they live. Each county is ranked within the state on key factors that affect health such as: adult smoking, obesity, binge drinking, access to primary care providers, rates of high school graduation, rates of violent crime, air pollution levels, liquor store density, unemployment rates and number of children living in poverty.

The online Rankings, available at www.countyhealthrankings.org, include snapshots of U.S. counties with a color-coded map that compares each county’s overall health to others in the state. Other studies have ranked states on health factors, but this is the first time researchers have drilled down to multiple factors at the county level for all 50 states.

The Rankings will identify barriers to health and help your community work to improve health outcomes. Importantly, the website will also enable you to compare counties within a state so you can learn what may be working in one area and apply it to your own community. As a Congressional staffer, this report will help you better understand the factors that influence the health of constituents in your state and district, and can also serve as a catalyst for your boss to become further engaged in policy changes that will help all people lead healthier lives.

For more information on what you can do please visit the ‘Take Action’ section of the website, www.countyhealthrankings.org.



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