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Pierce among Wisconsin's healthiest counties

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health River Falls, 54022
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Pierce County residents are among the healthiest in the state, according to the 2013 County Health Rankings released by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

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This is the 10th release of County Health Rankings in Wisconsin by UWPHI.

County Health Rankings examine the health and well-being of people living in nearly every county in every state across the nation and show that how long and well people live depends on multiple factors beyond just their access to medical care.

Wisconsin's five healthiest counties are Ozaukee, Kewaunee, St. Croix, Pierce, and Door. The five counties in the poorest health are Menominee, Milwaukee, Marquette, Adams, and Forest. 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 rankings tell us that we all have a stake in creating a healthier community and no single sector alone can tackle the health challenges in any given community," said Dr. Patrick Remington, professor and associate dean at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

"Collaboration is critical. The rankings are sparking action throughout Wisconsin as people from all sectors join forces to create new possibilities in health - county by county."

Pierce County ranks in the top quartile for health outcomes (4) and health factors (7). Pierce County ranks in the top quartile of Wisconsin counties for health behaviors (8) and social and economic factors (4). Pierce County ranks in the top half of Wisconsin counties for clinical care (31) but in the bottom half for physical environment (41).

"We are excited that Pierce County continues to be one of the healthiest counties. This shows a strong commitment from community partners working to improve the factors that influence health," said Pierce County Health Officer, Sue Galoff. "The strengths and opportunities identified in the rankings will be used to guide health planning efforts that are currently underway."

UWPHI researchers used five measures to assess the level of overall health for each county: premature death, the percent of people who report being in fair or poor health, the number of days people report being in poor physical and poor mental health, and the rate of low birthweight infants.

The rankings also examine 25 factors that influence health, including rates of childhood poverty, rates of smoking, obesity levels, teen birth rates, access to physicians and dentists, rates of high school graduation and college attendance, access to healthy foods, levels of physical inactivity, and percentages of children living in single parent households. This year's rankings include two new measures: access to dentists and drinking water safety.

For more information about the visit www.countyhealthrankings.org

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