A new report tracks the health and well being of Americans in nearly every county, and it finds that premature death rates are the lowest in 20 years.
However, people living in the unhealthiest counties are still dying early, at more than twice the rate of those in the healthiest counties. Teen births are also twice as common in unhealthy counties.
The report found violent crime is down by 50 percent, but child poverty rates have not improved in 20 years, with more than one in five children living below the poverty line.
People living in healthier counties are also about one and a half times more likely to have access to a doctor and dentist than those in the least healthy counties.
Locally, St. Joseph County ranks 43rd out of Indiana’s 92 counties. According to the results, 22 percent of adults in the county smoke, and 30 percent of adults are obese.
Elkhart County is ranked 14th. Lagrange County is the highest ranked Indiana county in our viewing area, at 5th.
The report comes from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. They looked at 25 factors that influence health to come up with the rankings.
The full report, with Indiana’s and Michigan’s results, is available online.