Winnebago County health rankings drop, Boone County's rise - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Winnebago County health rankings drop, Boone County's rise

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Although the two counties are right next to each other geographically, they're far apart when it comes to overall health rankings.

In the annual County Health Rankings, Winnebago County dropped from the third quartile last year, to the fourth this year, ranking 82nd out 102 counties in the state. Boone County, however, rose from 40th to 28th.

The study ranks how healthy people are, their life span, and factors like smoking, obesity, binge drinking, sexually transmitted diseases, access to healthcare, education levels, air quality, and income.

"No single sector alone can solve the health challenges in a community. Everyone has a role to play," Winnebago County Public Health Administrator Mike Bacon said. "The Rankings show that things like having a job, a good education, access to healthy foods, and a safe place to live affect how healthy we are. It's about bringing members of the community together to take action to prevent disease and improve health."

Winnebago County compares well to other counties in areas like clinical care, the ratio of primary care providers and dentists to population, preventable hospital stays, and diabetic screenings. However, it does not compare well in areas of smoking, obesity, sexually transmitted diseases, violent crime, teen birth, and limited access to healthy foods. Factors like high school graduation, unemployment, children in poverty, and children in single parent households also rank below state average.

In Boone County, two areas of great concern are adult obesity, adult smoking, and physical inactivity. The county's unemployment rate and college education level also did not compare well with the rest of the state, but the number of uninsured residents was 14 percent in Boone County, compared to a state average of 16 percent.

Full rankings can be found at www.countyhealthrankings.org and stats from Winnebago County can be found at the link to the left of this story.

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