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New rankings shed light on where kansas counties could improve health
new deh barton county commission KHI logo

2014 vital statistics for Barton County

• Population decreased 172 from 2014-2015.

• 340 live births, 113 went full term.

• Of those live births, 169 were out of wedlock.

• Majority of new mothers are 20-24 years old.

• 80 percent or more received prenatal care, and reported that care was good or better.

• 84 mothers initiated breast feeding.

• 19.5 percent of mothers smoked during pregnancy.

 Johnson County ranks healthiest in Kansas and Wyandotte County is the least healthy county in the state, according to the seventh annual County Health Rankings, released last week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The Rankings are available at www.countyhealthrankings.org.

“Each year we are excited to receive new information about the health of Kansas counties. Policymakers and members of the health community can use the rankings to better understand the complex connections between the social, economic, and behavioral factors that affect the health of the people and communities in our state,” said Gianfranco Pezzino, M.D., senior fellow and strategy team leader at the Kansas Health Institute.

The rankings are an easy-to-use snapshot comparing the health of nearly every county in the nation. The local-level data allows each state to see how its counties compare on more than 30 factors that influence health including education, housing, jobs, smoking, access to healthy food, and more.

According to the 2016 rankings, the five healthiest counties in Kansas, starting with most healthy, are Johnson County, followed by Thomas County, Logan County, Pottawatomie County, and Doniphan County. The five counties in the poorest health, starting with least healthy, are Wyandotte County, Labette County, Decatur County, Cherokee County, and Wilson County.

“The County Health rankings show how important it is to examine all the conditions that impact well-being and can help families thrive,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, RWJF president and CEO. “Communities around the nation are using the rankings to drive improvements in education, housing, job training, healthy food options, and more, as they work to build a Culture of Health.”

This year, the rankings took a closer look at the differences in health between urban, rural, suburban, and smaller metro counties and found that:

• Rural counties not only have higher rates of premature death, but also nearly one in five rural counties saw rises in premature death rates over the past decade, while most urban counties have experienced consistent improvement.

• Rural counties have higher rates of smoking, obesity, child poverty, teen births, and higher numbers of uninsured adults than their urban counterparts.

• Large urban counties have lower smoking and obesity rates, fewer injury deaths, and more residents who attended some college.

• Large suburban counties have the lowest rates of childhood poverty and teen births.

The 2016 rankings Key Findings Report highlights some new measures including residential segregation among blacks and whites, drug overdose deaths, and insufficient sleep and how they contribute to health. Learn more about those findings at countyhealthrankings.org

“The rankings data are only as valuable as the action it inspires and the lives it improves,” said Bridget Catlin, PhD, MHSA, co-director of the County Health Rankings. “Whether it’s addressing health gaps between counties or the concentration of poverty in rural or residentially segregated communities—targeting resources to the people and places in greatest need is essential to building a Culture of Health. The rankings are an important springboard for conversations on how to expand opportunity for all to be healthy.”

The 2016 rankings Key Findings Report highlights some new measures including residential segregation among blacks and whites, drug overdose deaths, and insufficient sleep and how they contribute to health. Learn more about those findings at countyhealthrankings.org

“The Rankings data are only as valuable as the action it inspires and the lives it improves,” said Bridget Catlin, PhD, MHSA, co-director of the County Health rankings. “Whether it’s addressing health gaps between counties or the concentration of poverty in rural or residentially segregated communities—targeting resources to the people and places in greatest need is essential to building a Culture of Health. The rankings are an important springboard for conversations on how to expand opportunity for all to be healthy.”