Health District Released 2018 County Health Rankings

Long-time patient Dorys Grover gives a bag of books to Dr. Norman Sitz during a checkup on Tuesday in Pendleton

Annual health rankings report places Petersburg last in state

Low birth-weight is a key indicator of overall health status in communities. A new report compares the well-being of almost every county in the U.S. "To me, it's one of the best case studies one could find to show why where you live matters", says Dr. Gianfranco Pezzino, a senior fellow at the Kansas Health Institute in Topeka.

St. Johns County residents are the healthiest in Florida, according to annual rankings released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "With things like low birth weight, childhood poverty, we're seeing some of these factors that are consistent across multiple counties and across the country". You can search for your county by clicking on the link at the side of this story, then typing in your zip code. Minnesota typically fares well healthwise in state-to-state measures, but disparities can be vast between different counties.

The 2018 health rankings show the St. Cloud area slightly improved. "That can affect your life expectancy by as much as 20 years unless we build a community that recognizes trauma and is resilient", Woo said.

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Another year has gone by and Forsyth County continues to trail its North Carolina metro peers in overall quality of health, according to a national study timed for release today. Even highly ranked Brown and Nicollet counties are above the state average in adult obesity.

Follow this link to see how the city or county where you live ranks. Olmsted County came in at #14, Freeborn County is #34, and Mower County is ranked the 56th healthiest county in Minnesota.

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 ratios of primary care physicians, dentists and mental health providers to the population all improved.

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Blue Earth County's STD rates are an outlier in the region, but numerous other poor health metrics are shared by neighbors.

Those gathering the data behind the rankings say the reports can be used to target areas of improvement in communities lagging behind the rest of the state.

"The reason why we provide these rankings is because they're kind of a catalyst to take action", he said.

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