Report says Carver County ranks #1 in state for ‘Health Outcomes’

For the second consecutive year, Carver County ranked first in Minnesota for health outcomes, according to the 2014 County Health Rankings report released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Carver County ranked third in health factors that contribute to health outcomes. 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 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 collective years of life lost due to 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. In these areas, Carver County’s numbers are lower than state and national benchmarks.
Health factors include health behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment. While Carver County ranked among the best in the state for social and economic factors, such as children living in poverty, unemployment, and violent crime, “there is always room for improvement,” said Marcee Shaughnessy, Carver County Public Health Department Manager.
Some of the areas where Carver County can improve its scoring include excessive drinking, alcohol-impaired driving deaths, and adult obesity and smoking rates. Additionally, the daily level of fine particulate matter is above the state and national benchmarks, making this an area for improvement in Carver County. Another area for improvement is the number of dentists and mental health providers in the county. Access to Mental Health Providers is a new factor considered in this year’s rankings, in addition to factors related to housing and transit.
“The County Health Rankings call attention to the health of the community as a whole, as opposed to a focus on the health status of individuals. Sustaining initiatives to improve the health of the entire community will help residents stay healthy,” Shaughnessy said. “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 County Health Rankings are available for viewing at www.countyhealthrankings.org.

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