The annual County Health Rankings, released March 26th by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provide a snapshot of health for Wisconsin counties. The Rankings are available at www.countyhealthrankings.org.
“The health of individuals and communities – how long we live, how we feel day to day—is influenced by many different factors,” said Karen Timberlake, director of the UW Population Health Institute. “The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps help communities across Wisconsin understand where they have opportunities to be healthier.”
“Across Wisconsin, every community has an opportunity to improve how long and how well people are living,” said Karen Timberlake, director of the UW Population Health Institute. “The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps help us understand where we need to focus our efforts, locally and as a state, to improve health.”
“Health – how long and how well people live – is about much more than access to healthcare,” said Karen Timberlake, director of the UW Population Health Institute. “The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps help us understand how things like jobs, education, and access to healthy food influence not just how we feel every day but how healthy we are as a state.”
The County Health Rankings rank the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states. The Rankings allow counties to see how well they are doing on 29 factors that influence health, including smoking, high school graduation rates, employment, physical inactivity, and access to healthy foods.
According to the 2014 Rankings, the five healthiest counties in Wisconsin, starting with the most healthy, are Ozaukee, followed by Kewaunee, Portage, Taylor, and Door. The five counties in the poorest health, starting with the least healthy, are Menominee, Milwaukee, Adams, Marquette, and Forest.
“The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s vision for a culture of health is one where everyone has the opportunity to be healthy,” said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF president and CEO. “The County Health Rankings are a starting point for change, helping communities come together, identify priorities, and create solutions that will help all in our diverse society live healthier lives, now and for generations to come.”
The Rankings provide county-to-county comparisons within a state. Nationally, this year’s Rankings show that people living in the least healthy counties are twice as likely to have shorter lives as people living in the healthiest counties. Unhealthy counties also have twice as many children living in poverty and twice as many teen births as the healthiest counties. This year’s Rankings also feature several new measures including housing, transportation, and access to mental health providers.
The County Health Rankings are part of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. The program includes the Roadmaps to Health Action Center which provides local leaders with tools, step-by-step guides, and stories to help communities identify and implement solutions that make it easier for people to live healthy lives. The program also includes the annual RWJF Culture of Health Prize, which celebrates communities that are harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners, and stakeholders to build a culture of health. This year’s prize winners and the call for 2014-2015 prize applications will be announced in June at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Spotlight: Health.
“The County Health Rankings show us how health is influenced by our everyday surroundings—where we live, learn, work, and play,” said Bridget Catlin, PhD, MHSA, director of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps.“ The County Health Rankings often provide the spark for businesses, community planners, policymakers, public health, parents, and others to work together for better health.”
The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute is part of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.