For almost a decade, the County Health Rankings, released today, March 14th, have shown that where we live makes a difference in how well and how long we live.
Where you live influences how well and how long you live, new rankings show.
According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Mecklenburg County is the fifth-healthiest county in the state, with Union County falling in line just ahead at No. 4.
Oakman also says that the childhood poverty rate is a major factor in Washington County's ranking; there, the rate is 28 percent.
Health factors has subcategories focused on health behaviors (62th, down from 60th), clinical care (13th, up from 14th), socio-economic factors (44th, up from 47th) and physical environment (78th, down from 66th).
The county's teen birth rate declined from 36 per 1,000 females ages 15 to 19 reported previous year to 30 per 1,000, which also is the state rate.
Sherburne County jumped seven spots to 13th from 21st.
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The biggest problem reflected in the numbers is Bexar County's rate of sexually transmitted infections.
The Rankings call attention to opportunities to improve the health of the community and serve as a call-to-action. The Institute works across the full spectrum of factors that contribute to health. Because even the counties at the top of the list, he said, have gaps in health outcomes.
The County Health Rankings have came out nationwide and many Wabash Valley Counties rank quite low.
Census data supports the correlation: The median income in Rankin is $59,370, while in Holmes it's $20,800, the lowest in the state.
"I bet the other counties did worse and that is why we improved because in some factors we improved and some we were actually worse", McMahan said.
A West Michigan county was named the healthiest in the state by a recent study. "That's one reason we partnered with Pisgah Legal Services to ensure our patients can access the care they need".
"We have a wonderful Safety Net Coalition here in Buncombe County", notes Jeff Heck, President and CEO of Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC), a safety net member, primary care provider, and education center serving Buncombe and 15 other counties across Western North Carolina.