Kane County—The Third Annual County Health Rankings released Tuesday once again show that Kane County residents are some of the healthiest in Illinois.
Overall, Kane ranked eighth in the state, moving up from ninth in 2011 and 11th in 2010. The rankings show Kane with a Health Outcomes rank of 8, and a Health Factor ranking of 30, both improvements from last year.
“Even though we ranked among the best in the state, the rankings reveal areas where we can improve. This report really reinforces what we have learned over the past year in our community health assessment that we conducted with the hospitals, United Ways and the INC Board. It helps us identify those areas where we still need to do more to shape our environment to support healthy choices,” Kane County Health Department Executive Director Paul Kuehnert said.
As one of the first steps toward the Health Department’s goal of improvement, the Kane County Board of Health will consider adopting the 2012-16 Kane County Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) at its meeting next Tuesday. This CHIP names four health priorities that take aim at several of the factors included in the report, including limited access to healthy foods.
In addition, Kane County has been awarded two planning grants, one from the American Public Health Association and one from Health Impact Project (a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts) that recognize the county’s efforts to integrate health in land use and transportation planning and that also support efforts to improve the county’s built environment.
“The rankings are a great way to see how our county compares to others in the state,” Kuehnert said. “We are moving in the right direction. The rankings show where we are doing well, and where we can improve so that we can achieve our vision of having the healthiest residents in Illinois by 2030.”
The County Health Rankings rank the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states, using a standard way to measure how healthy people are and how long they live. This year’s Rankings include several new measures, such as how many fast food restaurants are in a county and levels of physical inactivity among residents. Graphs illustrating premature death trends over 10 years are new as well.
The rankings, available at www.countyhealthrankings.org, include a snapshot of each county in Illinois and throughout the United States with a color-coded map comparing each county’s overall health ranking. Researchers used five measures to assess the level of overall health or “health outcomes” by county: the rate of people dying before age 75, the percent of people who report being in fair or poor health, the numbers of days people report being in poor physical and poor mental health, and the rate of low-birthweight infants.
The rankings also consider factors that affect people’s health within four categories: health behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment. Among the many health factors they look at: rates of adult smoking, adult obesity, excessive drinking among adults, and teenage births; the number of uninsured under age 65, availability of primary care physicians, and preventable hospital stays; rates of high school graduation, adults who have attended some college, children in poverty; community safety; limited access to healthy foods; rates of physical inactivity; and air pollution levels.
More information about the County Health Rankings and Kane County’s proposed 2012-16 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) is available by visiting www.kanehealth.com.