Kendall, DuPage are state’s healthiest

Kendall and DuPage counties are among Illinois’s three healthiest counties according to a national study released last week.

Kane County landed in ninth place while DeKalb was 10th in theCounty Health Rankings and Roadmaps conducted by  University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Downstate Woodford County topped the rankings while Kendall and DuPage were second and third, respectively.

“We are very happy to be ranked among the healthiest counties in Illinois,” said Karen Ayala, Executive Director of the DuPage County Health Department. “The Health Department places a high priority on positively and effectively influencing the factors that affect the health of our residents.”

The fifth edition of the County Health Rankings continues to show that where we live matters to health. Large gaps remain between the least healthy counties and healthiest counties.  

A collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, the County Health Rankings allow each state to see how its counties compare on 29 factors that impact health, including smoking, high school graduation rates, unemployment, physical inactivity, and access to healthy foods. 

The rankings are available at www.countyhealthrankings.org. 

The rankings provide county-to-county comparisons within a state; this year’s rankings also show important national trends: 

* Teen birth rates have decreased about 25 percent since 2007.  

* The rate of preventable hospital stays decreased about 20 percent from 2003 to 2011. 

* Smoking rates dropped from 21 percent in 2005 to 18 percent in 2012. 

* Completion of at least some college increased slightly from 59 percent in 2005 to 64 percent in 2012. 

 This year’s report featured the several new measures:  

* Housing:  Almost 1 in 5 households are overcrowded, pose a severe cost burden, or lack adequate facilities to cook, clean, or bathe.  

* Transportation: More than three-quarters of workers drive to work alone and among them 33 percent drive longer than a half hour each way. Driving contributes to physical inactivity, obesity and air pollution.  

*  Food Environment: People in many parts of the country face food insecurity (or the threat of hunger) and limited access to healthy foods, especially in counties in the Southwest, across parts of the South, and the western U.S. 

*  Mental Health: Amid growing attention to mental health care, the availability of mental health providers in the healthiest counties in each state is 1.3 times higher than in the least healthy counties.  

 

–News Bulletin news sources