Survey Ranks Calif. Counties on Current, Future Health Outcomes
An annual national survey by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute rates California's counties based on their health outcomes and health factors, the Los Angeles Times' "L.A. Now" reports (Karlamangla, "L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 3/24).
Details of Survey
According to Forbes, the health outcomes represent counties' current aggregate health, while health factors gauge how healthy counties are likely to be in the future (Hedgecock, Forbes, 3/25).
The health outcome indicators included the:
- Percentage of adults reporting poor or fair health;
- Average number of "physically unhealthy days" experienced in the last month;
- Average number of "mentally unhealthy days" experienced in the last month; and
- Percentage of live births with low birthweight.
Meanwhile, health factors included:
- Health behaviors, such as smoking;
- Clinical care, such as the percentage of population under age 65 without insurance;
- Social and economic factors, such as the percentage of adults ages 25 to 44 with some college education; and
- Physical environment, such as the air pollution and commuting measures (2015 County Health Rankings: California, March 2015).
For the first time, the survey also measured economic inequality within each county ("L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 3/24).
Alpine County was not included in the rankings.
In California, the survey found that:
- 20% of the state population under age 65 said they were uninsured;
- An average of 18% of residents reported fair or poor health; and
- An average of 13% of residents said they had smoked in the last 30 days.
The top-ranking counties for both health outcomes and health factors were:
- Marin County, which ranked first; and
- Placer County, which ranked second.
Meanwhile, Sierra County ranked lowest for health outcomes and Imperial County ranked lowest for health factors (2015 County Health Rankings: California, March 2015).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.