St. Croix County ranks healthiest in statePeople living in the northwestern part of the state are the healthiest in this year's county rankings by the UW Population Health Institute.
By: Shamane Mills, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
People living in the northwestern part of the state are the healthiest in this year's county rankings by the UW Population Health Institute. The study shows residents of St. Croix County live longer and have better quality of life. St. Croix County had its eye on the prize and it paid off. Its been second in years past. Now it's now ranked the healthiest of 72 counties in Wisconsin by the UW Population Institute. Public Health officer Wendy Kramer says St. Croix County has been working since 2008 to get residents to drink and smoke less, eat right and exercise more. For young children, this meant promoting fun physical activities.
"One example was building a snowman. Children signed up along with their parents and during winters months that was going outside and building snowmen,” Kramer said.
Those in St. Croix county are more likely to live to age 75. According to the Population Health Institute study that county had a lower rate of premature death than Wisconsin or the nation. And residents suffered from illness or injury fewer days than those in other counties -- about two and half days out of 30. Institute Director Karen Timberlake says the annual assessment takes into account people's habits and access to care, but what counts most are social and economic factors.
"People's level of educational attainment, by their income, by whether or not they have a job and certainly the physical environment has a role to play as well,” she said. “Do we breathe clean air? Do we drink clean water?"
The County Health Rankings report covers all states and nearly all counties so areas can compare themselves on various health measures. According to the report, Douglas County ranked 53 out of the state’s 72 counties.