Online: County-by-County Health Rankings

The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation this week released a report that ranks the overall health of counties in all 50 states, including North Carolina’s 100 counties.  The online report, County Health Ranking: Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health (MATCH) lists health outcomes and factors affecting people’s health for each county in North Carolina, as well as other states. It does not compare one state to another. Researchers used five measures of all health or “health outcomes” for counties: the rate of people dying before age 75, the percent of people who report being in fair or poor health, the numbers of days people report being in poor physical and poor mental health, and the rate of low-birthweight infants.

“There are big differences in health among North Carolina counties,” said State Health Director Jeffrey Engel, MD. “Poorer communities have poorer health. Education, jobs, availability of healthy foods, access to high-quality affordable health care, individual behavior…all these things have a big effect on people’s health. We hope this report will mobilize community leaders to take action to invest in programs and policy changes that improve health.”

In addition to MATCH, North Carolina uses the Comprehensive Assessment for Tracking Community Health (CATCH) system, an online “health data warehouse” that enables communities to identify health priorities and analyze health outcomes for their populations over time. For more information on NC CATCH, see http://www.schs.state.nc.us/SCHS/catch.

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