Health Factors Rankings: Dane County Ranks 11th Of 72 WI Counties

Posted Wednesday, April 4, 2012 --- 2:10 p.m.

From Public Health - Madison & Dane County:

Madison WI – April 4, 2012 - The County Health Rankings report, released yesterday, ranks the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states using a standard way to measure how healthy people are and how long they live. Dane County ranks in the top 25 percent of Wisconsin counties for health factors (3rd) and health outcomes (11th) according to the 2012 County Health Rankings released today by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The County also ranks in the top quarter range for health behaviors (2nd), clinical care (6th), and social and economic factors (6th). Its ranking for the quality of the physical environment however is in the bottom half of the state standings.

“Although we’re quite fortunate to live in one of the healthiest counties in Wisconsin with lower rates of premature death and physical inactivity, we have several areas where we can improve,” says Janel Heinrich, interim director of Public Health – Madison and Dane County (PHMDC). “We continue to demonstrate high rates of excessive drinking and sexually-transmitted infections, and a disparity in infant mortality. The County Health Rankings are one source of data that we use as we continue to work with community partners to make sure that Dane County is a healthy community for everyone.”

Wisconsin’s five healthiest counties are St. Croix, Ozaukee, Taylor, Iowa, and Vernon. The five counties in the poorest health are Menominee, Marquette, Milwaukee, Adams, and Jackson. 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.

“The Rankings remind us that there is a lot more to health than health care alone. Where we live, learn, work, and play matters to our health,” says Dr. Patrick Remington, associate dean for public health at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. “This annual county health check-up is bringing local leaders together to identify where they are doing well and where they should take action to get better.”

PHMDC has already developed several initiatives:

-- In 2011 PHMDC formed a Fetal Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) committee to review fetal and infant deaths in Dane County to identify ways that the systems that provide maternal child health services can be improved

-- The Department has been looking at countywide data to assess the relationship between the density of retail outlets for alcohol and crime county wide to identify communities at risk

-- PHMDC has been interviewing people with STIs and HIV to help develop strategies to increase screening and treatment, including offering free testing for those without insurance.

The Rankings include a snapshot of every county in Wisconsin and are available at www.countyhealthrankings.org.


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