Shawnee County drops 14 places among Kansas counties in annual health rankings

Posted March 30, 2017

An example is LiveWell Lawrence, a coalition of about 150 people who are working to making it easier for Douglas County residents to eat healthy foods, be physically active and live tobaccofree.

Southeast Minnesota again posted exemplary marks in the county health rankings, which are published annually by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Cheryl Lee, administrator at Clinton County Health Department, attributed the county's overall health ranking in part to the formation of the Clinton Health Improvement Coalition in partnership with St. Joseph's Hospital in Breese. In Boone County, malignant neoplasms is the leading cause of premature death with about 86 percent; suicide is the lowest with 14 percent.

Numerous health factors and outcomes across the three western-most counties are on-par, such as adult smoking and obesity, access to exercise opportunities, and the percentage of people who are uninsured. Jackson County, which includes the core of Kansas City, Mo., came in 61st out of 115 counties. Across Missouri, the average is 17 percent.

First released in 2011, the report, shows that where you live really matters to your health. But Florida roadmaps researcher Ericka Burroughs-Girardi cautions against a year-over-year direct comparison because rankings can change, even if residents' health doesn't. The foundations found that premature deaths (ages 15-44 years old) is on the rise nationally due to drug overdoses.

In 2017, five southeastern Minnesota counties ranked in the top 20 in the state for health outcomes, and four ranked in the top 20 for health factors.

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Carver County uses a variety of methods to assess and measure the health of Carver County communities.

The new figures showed Shawnee County ranked 77th in quality of life, down from 61st previous year.

"The rankings allow local leaders to clearly see and prioritize the challenges they face - whether it's rising premature death rates or the growing drug overdose epidemic - so they can bring community leaders and residents together to find solutions", said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF president and CEO.

County Health Rankings also tries to project what may happen in a county by looking at what influences health.

Residents of Labette County in southeast Kansas took the unenviable title of Kansas' least-healthy people from Wyandotte County in the 2017 County Health Rankings released Wednesday. The factor was not included in the health factor rankings, but Spegman said a high rate would not bode well for the individuals or their community. Los Alamos County has the lowest rate of 3,300 years lost. Statewide, people with a high school education are at 80 percent. Health factors relate to health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic, and physical environment values. But New Mexico girls 15 to 19 gave birth at a rate of 51 per 100,000 - a rate significantly higher than the US rate of 38 per 100,000 girls in that age group.