For the second year in a row, Starke County has fallen in the lowest ranking for health outcomes, according to the annual County Health Rankings, released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
The ten counties with the lowest ranking include Delaware, Lawrence, Sullivan, Orange, Jasper, Starke, Crawford, Blackford, Fayette and Scott.
The rankings rate overall health for all 92 Indiana counties by using a standard formula to measure how healthy people are and how long they live. Twenty-nine factors are measured and included among those are smoking, high school graduation rates, employment, physical inactivity, and access to healthy foods. New factors this year are housing, transportation and access to mental health providers.
Two of the biggest issues for poor health are obesity and tobacco use. Those living in unhealthy counties are twice as likely to live shorter lives and have twice as many children living in poverty.
The top ten counties based on health outcomes are Hamilton, Hendricks, Boone, LaGrange, Brown, Dubois, Wells, Monroe, Whitley and Tippecanoe.
The Indiana State Department of Health, Indiana Hospital Association, and the Indiana Business Research Center have launched the Indiana INdicators website for free access to help Indiana communities perform community health needs assessments and more. For more information, visit www.IndianaIndicators.org.