What Are America's Healthiest Counties?

A new study from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ranks America's healthiest counties. Environment, rather than access to care, is seen as the key element in determining health outcomes.

"Residents of the nation's least healthy counties die at twice the rate of those living in their states' healthiest counties, despite a major improvement in the rate of premature deaths, according to a national survey of county health statistics released Wednesday," reports Kelly Kennedy.

"The full implementation next year of the 2010 health care law could improve health statistics overall, experts say, but real change in health statistics can come only if Americans start eating better and exercising more," she adds.

"Though the law's provisions calling for preventive screenings and a doctor's advice for improved eating and exercise habits will help, [Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA] said, people will continue to suffer from preventable health problems if they can't find fresh produce or parks where they can exercise."

"The law 'may improve things, but it almost certainly won't affect the ratings,' said Jim Marks, director of the foundation's health group. 'Access to health care doesn't affect obesity.'"

Full Story: Habits, not hospitals, affect counties' health rankings

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