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Where You Live and Your Health

Where you live can affect your health.  And now that theory has been documented and the results are online to view at CountyHealthRankings.org.

Researchers at The University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Foundation compared every county within each state.  The report is divided into two main categories.  First, they measured two types of health outcomes: how long people live (mortality) and how healthy people feel while alive (morbidity).  Mortality was defined as the number of premature deaths (before age 75).  For morbidity, they used the measures of health-related quality of life (their overall health, their physical health, their mental health) and also looked at birth outcomes (in this case, babies born with a low birthweight).

Second, Health Factors are measured.  These factors represent what influences the health of a county. Researchers measured four types of health factors: health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic, and physical environment factors.

Results of the site are not surprising in that wealthier counties tend to have better quality of life than poorer neighbors.  In Pennsylvania, for example, number 1 ranked Chester County has a far superior score to that of Philadelphia County, which is ranked near the bottom in that state.

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