Turns out mine isn’t so healthy.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute, just issued the County Health Rankings. The rankings provides a snapshot of a community’s health and a starting point for investigating and discussing ways to improve health.
I looked up my county in Nebraska, Douglas, and found it was ranked 58th out of 75 (though to be fair – or maybe to our advantage – there were several counties not ranked at all).
What’s your county’s ranking? Surprised?
How did they get these numbers? “The rankings are based on a model of population health that emphasizes the many factors that, if improved, can help make communities healthier places to live, learn, work and play,” according to the website. They take into consideration health factors like diet and exercise and alcohol use; clinical care, like access to care; social and economic facts, such as education and employment; and the physical environment.
Time magazine’s Healthland blog analyzed the rankings and came to the conclusion that “being poor is bad for your health. So is having low education, not having a job and having less access to grocery stores and farmer’s markets for fresh food.”
The good thing about these rankings is that it’s a wakeup call for citizens and government officials. The website for the rankings provides in-depth action plans for all walks of life – educators, business owners, officials, grantmakers, everyone.
The average American has a lot of options when it comes to taking action. See this page for resources to take action in your community. If you haven’t got the time to spare to help in a community movement, and believe me, I can understand that, at least you can help get the word out, especially if your county has a dismal ranking (I work in a county that ranks 91 out of 95 in the state). Start talking with friends, colleagues and family about the health of your community and what can be done about it.
Get the message out.