Livingston County ranked healthiest in New York

Livingston County was ranked the healthiest county in New York state for 2013 according to the fourth-annual County Health Rankings and Roadmaps rankings. This is an improvement from the county’s fifth-place ranking last year.

The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps is a project of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. According to the website, the rankings “look at a variety of measures that affect health such as the rate of people dying before age 75, high school graduation rates, unemployment, limited access to healthy foods, air and water quality, income, and rates of smoking, obesity and teen births.”

According to The Democrat and Chronicle, this study also ranks every county in the nation according to several health categories, including environmental factors, social factors, clinical access and healthy habits.

Out of the 65,000 people living in Livingston County, The Democrat and Chronicle stated that “only 10 percent reported they are in poor or fair health, well below the state rate of 15 percent. Eleven percent are uninsured and 13 babies per 1,000 are born to teen mothers, both below state average.”

According to The Democrat and Chronicle, people living in the country’s least healthy counties die at twice the rate of people living in living in their states’ healthiest counties, and “Places with higher death rates have the highest rates of smoking, teen births, physical inactivity and preventable hospital stays.”

According to a web article from The Evening Tribune, while Livingston County ranked number one overall, it did not receive top rankings in the project’s individual categories. Livingston County still placed highly in these categories, however, including sixth in the state for fewest premature deaths and eleventh in the state in the health behaviors category. This category includes factors such as obesity rate, smoking and teen birth rates.

“The study also states that 11 percent of the population [in Livingston County] under 65 is uninsured,” as stated in The Evening Tribune.

The website for the County Health rankings doesn’t just list the county rankings by state, but “include a snapshot of each county in New York state with a color-coded map comparing each county’s overall health ranking. There are also new county-level trend graphs detailing change over time for several of the measures, including children in poverty, unemployment and quality of care,” according to The Genesee Sun.

Some Livingston County locals said they were surprised by the number one ranking.

“It’s a good thing. I’m kind of surprised to hear it,” sophomore Jess Louis said. “I’m glad the county I’m living in is the healthiest though.”

Karyn Deagle, owner of Genesee Valley Florist said, “I think it’s important to have positive things said about where you live to draw other residents. I guess I’m surprised this is something people poll for. It’s definitely interesting.”