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Allen County is 35th in health rankings report

Statement issued Tuesday by the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health:

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (April 3, 2012) – Allen County ranked 35 out of 92 counties in the state for overall health, according to the latest health ranking report released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Now in its third year, the annual County Health Rankings assess counties in all 50 states using a variety of indicators such as rates of smoking, obesity and teen births, air pollution levels, motor vehicle accidents and premature death. This year’s Rankings include several new measures, such as how many fast food restaurants are in a county and levels of physical inactivity among residents.

According to the 2012 Rankings, the five healthiest counties in Indiana, starting with most healthy, are Hamilton, Boone, LaGrange, Dubois and Hendricks. The five counties in the poorest health, starting with least healthy, are Scott, Pike, Starke, Sullivan and Fayette.

Every county is ranked on both health outcomes (how healthy we are) and on health factors (how healthy we can be). Allen County again ranked 35 in health outcomes, but rose from 36 to 29 in health factors, according to the report.

On the positive side, Allen County jumped from 65 to 48 in health behaviors such as smoking and adult obesity and from 49 to 35 in social and economic factors such as high school graduation and unemployment rates. Unfortunately, the county also dropped from 24 to 41 in physical environment and from 42 to 50 in overall morbidity.

“More than anything the County Health Rankings show us that much of what influences our health happens outside of the doctor’s office. In fact, where we live, learn, work and play has a big role in determining how healthy we are and how long we live,” says Allen County Health Commissioner Deborah McMahan, MD.

“I see this report as both an annual checkup of sorts and a call to action. By knowing where we are doing well and where we can do better, we can take the steps necessary to make Allen County a healthier place to be.”

The full report is available at www.countyhealthrankings.org.

About the County Health Rankings

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute have released the third annual County Health Rankings. Nearly every county in the country is ranked on health outcomes (how healthy we are) and on health factors (how healthy we can be). This information helps counties see where they are doing well and where improvement is needed to ensure that every community is a healthy place to live, learn, work and play. The online report can be found at www.countyhealthrankings.org. The report includes a color-coded map comparing each county’s overall health ranking.

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