Pike ranked last in health study

Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods meets from 11:45 to 1 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, 1515 S.W. 10th, the release added.

Three of the counties that make up the Austin metro area - Travis, Williamson and Hays - have once again been ranked among the healthiest overall in the state.

Duval County's obesity rate of 31 percent was 5 percent over the state average, as was its rate of alcohol-impaired driving deaths.

However, Franklin County was also found to have one of the highest smoking rates in the state. The number of Kansas counties participating rose to 102 this year compared to 101 last year.

Numerous health factors and outcomes across the three western-most counties are on-par, such as adult smoking and obesity, access to exercise opportunities, and the percentage of people who are uninsured.

Nassau County is number 18, Alachua came in at 26, Baker at 39.

"Drug overdose deaths are fueling a dramatic increase in premature deaths nationally because of an increase in deaths among 15 to 44 year olds", the release stated.

The report said 8 percent of the county's population remains uninsured, slightly lower than the state average of 9 percent.

"The environment in which we live, the physical environment and the social environment - they heavily affect how healthy a community is", Pezzino said. But Florida roadmaps researcher Ericka Burroughs-Girardi cautions against a year-over-year direct comparison because rankings can change, even if residents' health doesn't.

The County Health Ranking began measuring two new factors this year: deaths due to drug overdoses and youth disconnectedness.

By many health measures, the United States, a nation of over 320 million, is an anomaly.

"I was really pleased a year ago, as we had done a lot of work with The Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County and Access Carroll and the (Carroll) Hospital to try to advance all the health indicators", Carroll County Health Officer Ed Singer said.

La Crosse emerged as the highest-ranking Wisconsin county in the Coulee Region, while Houston County is the highest-finishing in Minnesota, ranked at sixth out of 87 counties in the Gopher State, a dip from fifth past year.

Rates are higher in rural counties and highest among American Indian/Alaskan Native, black and Hispanic youth.

Pottawattamie county is ranked so lowly in part because of the number of premature deaths they have every year.

The county's quality-of-life ranking also dropped from 36th to 47th.

Madison County has moved up one spot in Indiana's health rankings, but the county is among the worst for social and economic factors. Olmsted scored particularly high - 96th percentile - in "access to exercise opportunities". The assessment identified issues with substance abuse and addiction, tobacco use, nutrition, mental health support and primary care as key health issues for Ross County, with high lung cancer rates held up as a critical concern.