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How Healthy Are New Jersey Counties? [AUDIO]

Where we live matters to our health. That was one of the key findings in the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps Report, which measures the overall health of each county in all 50 states and looks into what other factors contribute to health in a particular area.

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The annual report has been released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

“In New Jersey, there are large health differences depending on where people live in the state and there are various factors that contribute to those differences,” said Dr. James Marks, senior vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “We looked at measures of length of life and quality of life, including rates of illness and those sorts of things. Then we looked at what contributes to good or poor health.”

Those measures included smoking and obesity rates, teen births, high school graduation rates, unemployment and the number of children in poverty.

“The suburban areas where people have more income and more education are often the places that are doing better,” Marks said.

Hunterdon County came in at number one, followed by Somerset and Morris counties.  Atlantic, Essex and Cumberland counties were at the bottom of the list.

The idea behind the Rankings report is to help counties understand the elements that influence how healthy residents are and how long they will live.

“We see the rankings as a call to action for counties, so that we can see what we should do to improve our community and make it a better place to live and raise a family,” Marks said.

Between New Jersey’s best and worst areas, there is the same level of variation as there is across the nation.

“Our best places are among the best in the nation and our places that are most challenged for help are among those that are the most challenged nationwide, “Marks said. “We have some of the wealthiest and poorest counties and some of the healthiest and least healthy counties.”

For more information and to see the complete list of health rankings by county, visit http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/.

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