The University of Wisconsin and Robert Woods Johnson Foundation conduct an annual review of programs that influence the overall health of a community and assigns a ranking for nearly every county in the United States.
The data used in the rankings are available in each state and include information related to physical environment, social and economic factors, health behaviors, education, crime rate/law enforcement and clinical care, such as data available from the Florida Department of Health at floridacharts.com
The rankings serve as a snapshot of the health of individuals across counties in each state. Counties are ranked in two major areas: Health Outcomes (mortality and morbidity) and Health Factors (health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment).
Miami-Dade County was ranked sixth among the 67 Florida counties in Health Outcomes (how healthy a county is) and 29th in Health Factors (what influences the health of a county).
This shows an improvement over the last four years, officials said, adding that challenges remain in the areas of access to health care, clinical care, family and social support, and social and economic factors.
“We are committed to making Miami-Dade County a healthier place to live, learn, work and play. We are fortunate to have the support of our community partners and to be a part of an integrated Florida Department of Health,” said Lillian Rivera, administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County.
“The information in the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps provides us with another tool to continue to develop and implement initiatives to protect, promote and improve the health of our community.”
In Broward County, officias cited areas of progress and continuing opportunity. For example, the rate of cardiovascular disease has decreased over the past seven years, they noted, due in part to groups working to increase healthy nutrition and physical activity such as the Nutrition and Fitness Taskforce of Broward County lead by the Florida Department of Health in Broward County.
Challenges remain for the larger Broward community such as the number of new HIV and AIDS cases; although deaths due to AIDS have decreased.
“Broward County is ranked among the top 10 counties for both Health Outcomes and Health Factors,” said Paula Thaqi, director in Broward County. “The local public health system in Broward, comprised of all of the agencies across many sectors that affect the public’s health, continue to partner and collaborate effectively to maintain our strengths and address our opportunities for improvement.”
“The Children’s Services Council of Broward County applauds these results and remain committed to working with the Health Department and our many other partners to continue to improve the quality of life of Broward’s Children,“ added Cindy Arenberg Seltzer, president and CEO, Children’s Services Council of Broward County.
Palm Beach County remained in the top tier of the 67 Florida counties, ranking 14th in the state for Health Outcomes (length of life & quality of life) and moving up to sixth from eighth for Health Factors (behaviors, clinical care, social & economical, physical environment).
Many health factors are considered when assessing what can lead to better health outcomes like lowering the number of premature deaths and the number of poor to fair healthy days in a person’s life. The county ranks third for health behaviors as it continues to trend downward for having fewer adult smokers, lower teen birth rates, better access to clinical care and an excellent physical environment both natural and man made in which to live.
“Promoting optimal health in our community involves a broad spectrum of partners in government, education, business and civic organizations, “said Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County Director Alina Alonso. “These rankings give us a good picture on how we are doing as a community and areas to focus on for improvement.” The Rankings include a color-coded map comparing each county’s overall health ranking.
Monroe County ranked 20th overall for Health Outcomes and ninth in Health Factors. The county ranked 41st for factors such as Clinical Care – in which the percentage of population under age 65 without health insurance is measured, for example; in this case 29 compared to 25 percent statewide.
But Monroe was in the top 10 in areas ranging from morbidity to social and economic factors to physical environment, where Monroe ranked first among Florida’s 67 counties.