New report shows Carver County ranks #1 in Minnesota in multiple factors that affect health

CarverCountyCMYKCarver County ranked 1st in Minnesota in health outcomes and health factors, according to the 2013 County Health Rankings report released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
These rankings help explain the factors which influence the health of the community and make Carver County a healthy place to live, learn, work, and play.
The County Health Rankings show how Carver County ranks on factors that influence its overall health ranking.
For example, Carver County has strengths in the area of mortality (premature death), where it ranked 2nd out of 87 counties and in Morbidity (quality of life), where it ranked 23rd. Even though Carver County ranked among the best in the state for social and economic factors, such as children in poverty, children in single-parent households, and violent crime, “there is always room for improvement,” said Randy Wolf, Carver County Public Health & Environment Director.
The report ranks both health outcomes and health factors to highlight the wide array of issues that determine health in local communities. Health outcomes include the rate of people dying before age 75, the percentage of people who report being in fair or poor health, and the rate of low birth weight infants. These are all areas where Carver County residents rank significantly below state and national benchmarks.
Health factors include health behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment.
Areas where Carver County can improve its scoring include excessive drinking, limited access to healthy foods, and the percentage of fast food restaurants.
Additionally, the daily level of fine particulate matter is above the state and national benchmarks, making this an area for improvement in Carver County.
“Carver County’s high health ranking reflects the priority placed on influencing the factors that affect the health of our community. The County Health rankings call attention to the health of the community as a whole, as opposed to the focus of health status of individuals,” Wolf said.
“It also shows the importance of sustaining those programs that help residents stay healthy. We think the rankings indicate that Carver County is a great place to raise a family, grow a business, and live a long, healthy life.”
The County Health Rankings, which launched nationwide in 2010, use a standard formula to measure the health of the more than 3,000 counties across the United States. The rankings are designed to compare the health of counties within each state; they do not compare counties in Minnesota with counties in other states.
Minnesota’s local public health organizations already use a variety of methods to assess and measure the health of local communities. The goal of the County Health Rankings is to spur discussion and action across all sectors of community — including government, business, community and faith-based groups, education, and public health — to improve the health of Minnesotans.
The detailed County Health Rankings was available for viewing at 11:01 p.m. (CDT), Tuesday, March 19, at