McPherson County has been ranked as the 10th healthiest county in the state, according to the fifth annual County Health Rankings, released earlier this week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI). Woodson County, located in southeast Kansas, was ranked the lowest in overall health outcomes this year.
The County Health Rankings rank the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states. The Rankings allow counties to see how well they are doing on 29 factors that influence health including smoking, education, employment, physical inactivity, and access to healthy foods.
According to the 2014 Rankings, the five healthiest counties in Kansas, starting with most healthy, are Johnson, followed by Riley, Pottawatomie, Wabaunsee and Stevens. The five counties in the poorest health, starting with least healthy, are Woodson, Elk, Wyandotte, Chautauqua and Decatur.
The Kansas Health Institute (KHI) has served as the state's contact for the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program since it began five years ago. Gianfranco Pezzino, M.D., M.P.H., senior fellow at KHI, said, "The Rankings serve as a way to start a conversation about what being a healthy community means. Factors such as education and poverty can affect the health of our population dramatically. A community can use this information to help define areas of need and interventions. At the state level, the Rankings allow us to identify large pockets where unhealthy communities are more prevalent, as well as disparities between communities adjacent to each other."
For a detailed look at McPherson County's statistics, go to www.countyhealthrankings.org/app/kansas/2014/rankings/mcpherson/county/outcomes/overall/snapshot