More than 1,500 premature deaths in Arizona could be avoided every year if our state’s least healthy counties had access to the same programs and opportunities as its healthiest counties. That comes from a new report just released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin.
The study, titled 2015 County Health Rankings, named Apache, La Paz, and Gila as Arizona’s least healthy counties, while Maricopa and Santa Cruz were among the healthiest. The rankings look to measure the current overall health of each county in all 50 states. They also set a variety of measures that affect the future health of communities, such as high school graduation rates, access to healthy foods, rates of smoking, obesity, and teen births.
Arizona Public Media quoted one of the researchers, Stephanie Johnson, as saying:
“We know that where people live matters to their health and there are places in states where some have the chance to be healthiest they can be, while others do not. Every state has communities that lack opportunities to shape health or to promote the health of its residents, and some counties lag far behind others in how well and long people live, and we refer to that lag as a health gap.”
The infographics below highlight just two of the many measures used in this report – obesity rates and physical inactivity. For example…35% of the adults in Graham and Greenlee counties are obese, while only 21% are obese in Santa Cruz. And almost one-third of the adults in some counties are physically inactive while just over 15% are in other counties. Closing these massive health gaps is key to better health outcomes in Arizona. And those better health outcomes are another step on our goal to make Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!