Ford and Vermilion counties in Illinois show marked improvement when it comes to the health of the people living there. The counties rank among the top 20 of Illinois’ 102 counties in a third annual measurement of the health of residents.
Ford county placed 11th, McLean was 18th. But Iroquois County actually went from 28th place in 2011 to 43rd this year. .
County Health Rankings is a nationwide report released Tuesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin. It ranks counties using a formula measuring the health of residents and how long they live.
Among factors measured were: the rate of people dying before age 75; the percent of people who report being in fair or poor health; physical inactivity; the rate of low-birthrate infants; smoking and obesity rates; excessive drinking; and teenage births.
Also measured were: the number of uninsured residents; availability of primary care doctors; preventable hospital stays; levels of education; children in poverty; community safety; access to healthful foods; and air pollution levels.
“One thing I like about this is it doesn’t look strictly at medical factors,” said Walt Howe, director of the McLean County Health Department. Socio-economic factors impact health and the rankings consider that.
“The underlying message is ‘Health is everyone’s responsibility,’” Howe said.
McLean County slipped slightly from its ranking of No. 13 last year. But Howe said McLean County was consistent with last year while some other counties improved.
Lowest among area counties in central-Illinois was Livingston at No. 84. But Linda Rhodes, Livingston County Health Department health education and marketing director, noted that unemployment, poverty and education rates were better in some other counties compared to Livingston. But smoking rates and people reporting being in poor health declined in her county.
A report of the overall health of residents of Illinois’ 102 counties was released Tuesday. Here’s how area counties rank compared with last year:
County 2012 2011
Woodford 2 3
Ford 11 11
McLean 18 13
Piatt 20 15
Tazewell 34 43
Iroquois 43 28
Logan 60 45
LaSalle 66 65
DeWitt 78 75
Livingston 84 79
SOURCE: County Health Rankings