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Home Health First Aid The Healthiest Counties in the U.S.

The Healthiest Counties in the U.S.

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the-healthiest-counties-in-the-us-headerDoes your county make the list on America's healthiest counties for kids?

Rankings are out for the 50 healthiest counties for kids in the U.S. as part of the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program, which is a collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The list evaluates all counties nationally and looks into environmental and health factors and how they impact children under 18 years old. 

The list looks at various factors including fewer infant deaths, number of low birth weight rates, reduced deaths from injuries, fewer teen pregnancies and fewer children living in poverty. Additionally, the list takes into account the number of children who lack health insurance, adult smoking and obesity rates, accessibility to physicians, and more.

The county health rankings program director, Bridget Catlin from the University of Wisconsin, explained "there are so many things we can do in our communities...to prevent illness from even occurring in the first place."

She continued, "...it's important to look at factors like people's behaviors, education and income, and making sure there are places to exercise."

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Of course, data doesn't always tell the whole story. Without analysis, we don't know why Marin county scored a perfect 100, and other counties can't make adjustments by learning from their strategies. So, let's look at what a few of these counties are doing to keep them in the top spots. 

Marin County (1) gets 80% of its electricity from renewable energy sources. Not only is this good for the environment, but it helps eliminate air pollution that has been linked to stroke, lung cancer, and respiratory diseases like asthma. The most important factor, however, may be the county's view on activities. The county's public health officer, Matthew Willis, says that it comes "down to creating an environment where it's natural and easy for kids to be active physically, eat well, and have access to health care."

Middlesex County (7) has Cambridge, where physical education classes are fun - like ballroom dancing and cycling. The county focuses on cultural diversity and has activities centered around that theme. For example, there's the annual Run & Ride which lets kids race through a local mall. A 2012 study found that more than 60 percent of Cambridge high school students report that they eat green salads often. County officials understand the need to share and collaborate to conserve finite resources. 

Howard County (13) was the first county in Maryland to ban smoking in its parks. County executive Ken Ulman says the goal is to make the county a "model public health community." The county makes certain designations with restaurants, schools, and child care programs that help people make smart choices. They also banned minors from using tanning beds, a hard fight, but one the county feels is worth fighting for.

50 Healthiest Counties for Kids in the U.S.

*County and Ranking Shown

  1. Marin County, CA - 100 
  2. Norfolk County, MA - 93.1
  3. Hunterdon County, NJ - 92.4
  4. Chittenden County, VT - 91.7
  5. Nassau County, NY - 91.7
  6. San Francisco County, CA 91.5
  7. Middlesex County, MA - 89.9
  8. Somerset County, NJ - 89.7
  9. Morris County, NJ - 89.7
  10. Bergen County, NJ - 89.5
  11. San Mateo County, CA - 89.4
  12. Hampshire County, MA - 89.0
  13. Howard County, MD - 88.9
  14. Ozaukee County, WI - 88.9
  15. Westchester County, NY - 88.1
  16. Santa Clara County, CA - 87.6
  17. Placer County, CA - 87.5
  18. Johnson County, KS - 87.5
  19. Olmsted County, MN - 86.7
  20. Montgomery County, MD - 86.7
  21. Waukesha County, WI - 86.7
  22. Johnson County, LA - 86.2
  23. Grafton County, NH - 86.2
  24. Orange County, CA - 85.9
  25. Monmouth County, NJ - 85.7
  26. San Luis Obispo County, CA - 85.4
  27. Montgomery County, PA - 85.4
  28. Santa Cruz County, CA - 85.2
  29. Loudoun County, VA - 85.1
  30. Yolo County, CA - 85.0
  31. Fairfield County, CT - 84.9
  32. Middlesex County, CT - 84.8
  33. Fairfax County, VA - 84.6
  34. Washington County, MN - 84.2
  35. Barnstable County, MA - 84.1
  36. Sonoma County, CA - 84.1
  37. Cumberland County, ME - 83.6
  38. La Crosse County, WI - 83.4
  39. DuPage County, IL - 83.3
  40. Delaware County, OH - 83.0
  41. Douglas County, CO - 82.9
  42. Napa County, CA - 82.7
  43. El Dorado County, CA - 82.6
  44. Tolland County, CT - 82.4
  45. Alameda County, CA - 82.2
  46. Washington County, VT - 82.0
  47. Contra Costa County, CA - 81.9
  48. Rockingham County, NH - 81.9
  49. Washington County, RI - 81.9
  50. Hamilton County, IN - 81.8

For more information, visit www.countyhealthrankings.org

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