More than 3,000 counties and the District of Columbia were evaluated by the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The county health rankings measure how healthy their residents are and how long they are expected to live.
In Utah, Cache County received the #2 ranking when it comes to health behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment.
Lloyd Berentzen is the health officer for the Bear River Health Department, which will use the data as one tool for creating programs needed to help maintain or improve the health of Cache County residents.
The county health rankings are an excellent tool to raise awareness about the health of our communities. However, we need to remember that the rankings are just one tool that we use to identify areas for improvement. Our counties and the public health district work close together with the department of public health to examine and evaluate numerous other sources of data. This is one tool in the toolbox.
The study includes new measures like how many fast food restaurants are in the county and the levels of physical inactivity among residents.
Berentzen says the report indicates a need to improve air quality in the Cache County:
We would be #1 in Cache County if it wasn't for some of the environmental challenges that we have. Whenever we're measured in terms of some of our air quality issues, that is the thing that continues to bring us down a little bit.
Cache, Utah, Summit and Davis Counties finished in the top 5 rankings for the study. The least healthy counties in descending order were Uintah, Emery, Duchesne, Sevier and Carbon. The low-population counties of Rich, Piute, and Daggett were not ranked.
See how your county ranks and how long you might live at countyhealthrankings.org. Or get started with the County Health Calculator below: