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Morgan County is Utah's healthiest; Carbon is worst

Published February 17, 2010 5:55 am

Report » The ones who take responsibility for well-being are best off.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

According to a new report, Utah's healthiest counties are places where residents take responsibility for their health -- they smoke less and exercise more. They are also places where more people are employed, insured and educated.

Those lifestyles translate into longer and healthier lives. By such measures, Morgan County is considered Utah's healthiest, and Carbon County is the unhealthiest.

That's according to a report released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The groups ranked the overall health of counties across the nation in their County Health Rankings.

Teresa Garrett, deputy director for public health practice at the Utah Department of Health, said the report can help communities focus on ways to help residents live better.

The incentive reaches beyond creating healthier lives: "You can't have a healthy economy without having healthy citizens," she said.

Researchers ranked the counties' health by measuring the rate of people dying before age 75 and the percentage of people who report being in fair or poor health, both physically and mentally, and the rate of low birth weight babies.

Researchers also ranked counties by health factors such as rates of smoking, obesity, binge drinking, teenage pregnancy, insurance and high school graduation, along with access to healthful foods and air pollution levels.

Utah's top 10 healthiest counties were generally the highest ranking counties for health factors. But there were anomalies: San Juan is ranked as the 10th healthiest but the worst when it comes to health factors such as access to care and education, employment and social support.

And Kane County is eighth best for health factors but 20th for health outcomes.

Garrett said it makes sense that counties with better-educated and employed residents are healthier: They would have insurance, better access to doctors and the education to understand health messages.

"It truly does make a difference," she said.

hmay@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">hmay@sltrib.com

Utah's counties, ranked by health outcome

To view the full report, go to http://www.countyhealthrankings.org. The state's counties are ranked based on premature death rates and quality of life, based on self-reported health.

1. Morgan

2. Cache

3. Summit

4. Utah

5. Davis

6. Wasatch

7. Box Elder

8. Washington

9. Salt Lake

10. San Juan

11. Grand

12. Iron

13. Weber

14. Beaver

15. Tooele

16. Millard

17. Garfield

18. Sanpete

19. Emery

20. Kane

21. Juab

22. Sevier

23. Uintah

24. Duchesne

25. Carbon

Daggett, Piute, Rich and Wayne were not ranked.

Source » County Health Rankings