County by County Health Rankings Released

April 2, 2014

The numbers are in regarding the annual county-by-county health rankings across the nation.

Conducted by the Robert Wood Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, the 5th Annual County Health Rankings and Roadmaps report gives a breakdown of each county in each state regarding health rankings.

Mel Garber is the Director of the Archway Partnership, which works with the Georgia College of Public Health.

He explains what the partnership does in relation to these rankings.

“It works with communities to identify their top priority needs, and then we connect to higher education resources when appropriate”, explained Garber.

The partnership was started back in 2005, and has really pushed the issue of prevention when it comes to each county’s health status, and Garber says it’s good to see prevention become a primary focus.

“To watch the conversation from where no one was talking about prevention when we first started, to where now that is really at the fore front”, said Garber. “There is a greater recognition that prevention is important to our economic competitiveness.”

He says the key component of bad health prevention is to grow the movement on a local level.

“This is a very grassroots driven effort, and ultimately when talking about improving heath outcomes, you are talking about individuals in individual communities”, says Garber. “That is ultimately what you have to get to.”

A total of 29 factors are considered when compiling the rankings which include smoking, high school graduation rates, employment, physical activity, and access to healthy food.

Out of 159 counties in Georgia, Elbert County ranks 107th.

In our area, Oglethorpe County ranks 33rd, Madison County 52nd, Hart County 59th, Franklin County 60th, Wilkes County 130th, and Lincoln County 150th.

The healthiest county in Georgia is Oconee County, and the least healthiest county is Telfair County.