PHILADELPHIA—Union County has the healthiest residents in Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia County is the least healthy county in the state, according to the third annual County Health Rankings, released by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).
"According to the rankings, residents of Philadelphia County have twice the number of premature deaths, compared with residents of Union County,” said Francine Axler, senior research associate at Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), the lead agency for the Pennsylvania County Health Rankings.
The County Health Rankings project ranks the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states, using a standard means to measure how healthy people are and how long they live. This year’s rankings include several new measures, such as how many fast food restaurants are in each county and the levels of physical inactivity among residents.
According to the 2012 rankings, the five healthiest counties in Pennsylvania, are Union followed by Chester, Juniata, Centre and Montgomery.
The five counties in the poorest health, are Philadelphia, Greene, Fayette, Sullivan and Cambria.
In Montgomery County, 10 percent of people have poor or fair health compared to the state's average of 14 percent, and 25 percent have adult obesity. Montgomery County also has 14 air pollution-ozone days, compared to the state's average of 8, which corresponds with .
The rate of sexually transmitted infection in Philadelphia County is nearly eight times that in Union County and Philadelphia County has nearly four times the teen birth rate. Additionally, 36 percent of children in Philadelphia County live in poverty, compared with 16 percent in Union County and 7 percent in Montgomery County. Finally, the violent crime rate in Philadelphia County is about 14 times that of Union County.
The rankings, available at www.countyhealthrankings.org, includes a snapshot of each county in Pennsylvania with a color-coded map comparing overall health rankings.
Researchers used five measures to assess the level of overall health or “health outcomes” for Pennsylvania by county: the rate of people dying before age 75, the percent of people who report being in fair or poor health, the numbers of days people report being in poor physical and poor mental health, and the rate of low-birthweight infants.
This press release was provided by Public Health Management Corporation on behalf of University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.