Kenosha County ranks 61st and 57th in Wis. in UW health report

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Kenosha County ranked 61st out of 72 counties in Health Outcomes and 57th in Health Factors, according to the new County Health Rankings report released Wednesday by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Kenosha County Health Department said in a news release.

The rankings have ranked the health of Wisconsin counties annually since 2003.

Kenosha County remained consistent with their ranking of 61st in Health Outcomes, dropping one spot from 2010. Improvement was seen in the Health Factors ranking, moving from 63rd in 2010 to 57th this year.

“The rankings help everyone see how where we live, learn, work and play influences how healthy we are and how long we live,” said Cindy Johnson, director/health officer of the Kenosha County Health Department.  “The easy-to-use information shows us what is affecting the health of our residents so we can see where we are doing well, where we need to improve, and what steps we need to take as a community to remove barriers to good health.”

Researchers used five measures to assess the level of overall health or “Health Outcomes” for Wisconsin by county: the rate of people dying before age 75, the percent of people who report being in fair or poor health, the numbers of days people report being in poor physical and poor mental health, and the rate of low-birth weight infants.

The rankings also look at health factors that affect people’s health within four categories: health behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment. Among the many health factors they looked at: rates of adult smoking, adult obesity, excessive drinking among adults, and teenage births; the number of uninsured adults, availability of primary care providers, and preventable hospital stays; rates of high school graduation, adults who have attended college, children in poverty; and community safety; access to healthy foods and air pollution levels.

Among the health factors listed in the County Health Rankings report, Kenosha County ranked:

  • 52nd in health behaviors.
  • 51st in clinical care.
  • 51st in social and economic factors.
  • 48th for physical environment.
  • 57th overall.

Many of these health factors are being addressed through the Healthy People Kenosha County 2020 initiative, Johnson said.  Healthy People Kenosha County 2020 is a 10-year effort to build a safe and healthy community. The plan works in conjunction with health goals set by the Healthiest Wisconsin 2020 plan and the national Healthy People 2020 plan and is a collaborative effort between many agencies and organizations in Kenosha County. The mission of Healthy People Kenosha County 2020 is to mobilize community resources to address and improve locally identified health priorities.

Wisconsin’s five healthiest counties are Ozaukee, St. Croix, Washington, Waukesha, and Taylor. The five counties in the poorest health are Menominee, Milwaukee, Marquette, Jackson, and Adams.

The healthiest of Wisconsin’s 72 counties are largely suburban counties near Milwaukee and on the border with the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area; the least healthy counties are primarily located in rural areas of central and northern Wisconsin with the exception of Milwaukee County, the state’s most urban county in the southeast.

The County Health Rankings report uses data from several sources, including the National Center for Health Statistics, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The most current data is from 2009, but several sources are from 2007 and even 2006.

More information is available at: www.countyhealthrankings.org

 

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