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home : news : news August 22, 2017

4/17/2017 9:53:00 AM
Iowa County retains #5 ranking for Quality of Life
Brooke Bechen
Reporter/News and Features

For the eighth year, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI) have released their annual County Health Rankings. These statistics, gathered over the course of the year, provide a snapshot into each county's health, with the ability to compare against other counties around the state.
"The County Health Rankings provide an opportunity to stimulate conversation about what we can do to improve health at the local level," Dr. Patrick Remington, interim director of the UW Population Health Institute said.
"[The rankings also] show us that where people live plays a key role in how long and how well they live," Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF president and CEO added. "The rankings allow local leaders to clearly see and prioritize the challenges they face - whether it's rising premature death rates or the growing drug-overdose epidemic - so they can bring community leaders and residents together to find solutions."
Iowa County remained in the list of the top 20 healthiest counties in the state, receiving a rank of #15 of the 72 counties. Neighboring Dane County received a ranking of seven, with Ozaukee County taking the top place as the healthiest county in Wisconsin. Menominee County was ranked the least healthiest county in the state, holding the same spot as it did last year.
In comparison to other neighboring counties, Lafayette County ranked #34 and Grant County ranked #41 this year in overall health. Sauk County also received a #36 ranking and Richland County received a #30 ranking this year.
Health outcomes that weighed into Iowa County's #15 ranking include a decrease in premature deaths across the county over last year. Premature deaths include all deaths among people under the age of 75.
In Iowa County, the leading cause of premature deaths in 2016 was "malignant neoplasms," a broad term that encompasses many types of cancer. Diseases of the heart were the second leading cause of premature death in Iowa County, followed by accidents (unintentional injuries) and intentional self-harm (suicide).
Iowa County remains a good place to live based on the data collected, as it received a Quality of Life ranking of #5 of the 72 counties. Last year, the county also received a #5 ranking, and in 2014 and 2015, Iowa County was ranked #1 in the state for Quality of Life.
The #5 Quality of Life ranking helped the county reach its #15 ranking for overall health, with 12% of adults in Iowa County reporting poor or fair health - equivalent to last year's data.
In addition, few adults in the county reported poor physical health days and poor mental health days, adding to the county's higher ranking. Only about 5% of babies born in the county were born underweight as well.
Other health factors that weighed into the county's ranking include Health Behaviors such as adult smoking, adult obesity, physical inactivity, access to exercise opportunities, excessive drinking, alcohol-impaired driving deaths, sexually transmitted infections and teen birth rates. In this category, Iowa County ranked #22 of the 72 counties.
Adult smoking increased by one percent compared to last year, with 16% of Iowa County adult residents indicating they are smokers. More adults in the county were also reported to be obese, with 32% of adults reporting a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more.
Less adults reported partaking in excessive drinking over last year, although the number of alcohol-impaired driving death did increase slightly over last year. There was also a decrease in sexually transmitted infections in the county in 2016, but Iowa County remains significantly below the averages recorded for the state and the country for this specific health factor....
See the rest of the story in the April 13 Chronicle issue

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