Phillips County is the second unhealthiest county in Arkansas according to the fourth annual County Health Rankings released last week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
According to a press release issued by the Arkansas Department of Health, Benton County has healthiest residents in the state. Only Ouachita County ranks lower than Phillips County in terms of being unhealthy.
The County Health Rankings classify the overall health of almost every county in all 50 states. Nationally, the statistics indicate that unhealthy counties have more than double the rate of premature deaths than their healthy counterparts. Childhood poverty rates are nearly twice as high in unhealthy counties.
The rankings permit counties to compare themselves to other counties in the state based on a variety of factors that effect health such as high school graduation rates, obesity, smoking and family and social support.
The 2013 rankings reveal the five healthiest counties in the state as Benton, Washington, Faulkner, Saline and Boone counties. The five counties with the poorest health conditions are Ouachita, Phillips, Mississippi, Poinsett and Layfayette counties.
County health rankings include a color-coded map comparing each county's overall health ranking. There are also new county-level trend graphs that show changes in HHI care.
“Since their introduction in 2009, the County Health Rankings have provided Arkansas counties with some powerful tools to help guide local efforts as they improve our overall health and well-being,” stated Dr. Paul Halverson, state health officer and director, ADH. “Initiatives to reduce tobacco use, enhance injury-prevention efforts and fight obesity and chronic disease have been shaped by what these findings can tell our policy makers at the county level. The County Health Rankings provide a clear picture of our own strengths as well as opportunities for improvement.”
Halverson went on to praise Hometown Health Initiatives that currently exist in all 75 Arkansas counties.
HHI coalitions, said Halverson, do powerful and unique work to improve the health and quality of life in communities including reducing preventable illness and injury and helping the ADH coordinate community health services more efficiently.
According to Halverson, HHI community coalitions will be hosting local presentations of the 2013 County Health Rankings and Roadmaps.
The Rankings and additional information are available at www.countyhealthrankings.org.