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County Health Rankings map.

Pierce among Wisconsin’s healthiest counties

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

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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 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.

Pierce County ranks in the top quarter for health outcomes (9) and health factors (10). Pierce ranks in the top quarter of Wisconsin counties for health behaviors (17) and social and economic factors (4). Pierce County ranks near the middle for clinical care (34) and in the bottom quarter for physical environment (56).

 “Although it’s positive that Pierce County continues to be one of the healthiest counties, the Rankings point out areas of ongoing concern such as obesity rates and alcohol issues said Pierce County Health Officer, Sue Galoff.   "The Healthy Eating Active Living Coalition and the Pierce County Partnership for Youth are implementing strategies to address these issues in our community.”

“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.

 The Rankings are available at www.countyhealthrankings.org.

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