A nationwide report called the “2013 County Health Rankings” was released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The report compares the health of counties in every state across the nation, measured by overall health and factors that influence health. Of Iowa’s 99 counties, Sioux County ranked highest in overall health outcomes; Johnson County was ranked highest for all factors that influence health.
“It’s important to understand these rankings do not present a complete picture of what Iowa’s counties have accomplished,” said Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks. “These rankings will be used in conjunction with other community health assessments and planning efforts to find the best ways to address challenges and build upon successes.”
While Miller-Meeks says IDPH takes these rankings and all health assessments seriously, she notes they are simply tools to review and identify weaknesses or gaps in the health factors in individual counties. “I’m impressed with the work being done by our local public health partners who have received Community Transformation Grants in leading and assisting coalitions within their counties, as well as similar efforts as part of the Healthiest State Initiative. I have seen first-hand the work being done to improve the health of all Iowans in all counties, regardless of rankings or lists.”
The County Health Rankings were compiled taking into account a wide range of health factors, including healthy behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment. For more information and to see a color-coded map comparing each Iowa county’s overall health ranking, visit www.countyhealthrankings.org.