Health Varies Greatly Among Counties in California, Nationwide
A recent county-by-county ranking found that there are great variations in overall health outcomes in California, with poverty being a top indicator of whether an area has poor health, the Fresno Bee reports.
The rankings were conducted in all 50 states by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The report was released Tuesday (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 2/16).
The ranking found that the least healthy counties often are rural and have largely low-income populations while the healthiest counties are typically urban or suburban and have higher income populations. More specifically, the rankings found that the least healthy counties are likely to have:
- Childhood poverty rates more than three times higher than the healthiest counties;
- Sixty percent higher hospitalization rates for preventable conditions than the healthiest counties; and
- At least one grocery store in only a third of zip codes, compared to nearly half of zip codes in the healthiest counties (Neergaard, AP/Google, 2/17).
In California, the unhealthiest county was Del Norte followed by Siskiyou, Lake, Trinity, Yuba, Kern, Inyo, Tulare, Madera and Modoc counties.
The healthiest counties were Marin, San Benito, Colusa, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Placer, Orange, Santa Cruz, Sonoma and El Dorado.
Two counties were not included in the ranking.
For the ranking, researchers measured the:
- Rate of people dying before age 75;
- Percentage of people reporting fair to poor health;
- Number of days people report being in poor physical and mental health; and
- Rate of low birth weights (Fresno Bee, 2/16).