How healthy is your county?
Updated On: Mar 25 2013 10:29:02 AM CDT
When it comes to healthy living an annual report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute might have it figured out.
Researchers looked at more than two dozen factors they believe influence a person's physical and mental wellness.
"I think any time that you have an external source that talks about community health it allows you to look at the things that the community is doing well and also the things that we need to focus on," explained Dr. Robert Langan, program director for St. Luke's Family Medicine Residency.
The report looked at factors like obesity, smoking, and access to health care as well as social, economic and environmental statistics to compile the rankings.
So how did our area stack up? Berks, Lehigh and Northampton counties all ranked in the top 25 in the study.
Lehigh County jumped up five spots to land at number 18 this year, Northampton County came in at 25th place for the second year in a row, and Berks County dropped three to place 17th overall. Philadelphia was on the very bottom of the state's 67 counties.
"I think that it's nice to take a minute to pat ourselves on the back and say good job," added Langan. "But I think that it would be foolish to say we've finished, we've completed the race because there's always room for improvement."
The point is to raise awareness and inspire change. Compared to most other Pennsylvania Counties, Lehigh, Northampton and Berks all had lower percentages of adult smokers, and physical inactivity. But the rankings showed the percentage of obese adults and excessive drinking were on par with statewide benchmarks.
"There are individual things that you should do every single day to improve your health and the health of your family," Langan said. "By doing that you're going to improve the health of the community and the health of the area that you live in."
The report also looked at some factors that we have no control over like income, education and community safety.
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