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Carver Co. ranked healthiest in state; McLeod slips to seventh
March 25, 2013

By Ivan Raconteur

CARVER, McLEOD, AND WRIGHT COUNTIES – It was announced last week that Carver County is the healthiest in the state, moving up from the number-two spot in 2012, according to an annual report.

The report, published by the University of Wisconsin Public Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, released during National Public Health Week, shows that Carver County placed first on the list of health outcomes among Minnesota counties,

Last year, Carver County edged out McLeod County for second place, pushing McLeod from second to third place. Carver County was fifth on the list in 2011.

This year, McLeod County dropped to number seven on the list.

Wright County improved from 23rd in 2011, to 13th in 2012, where it remains this year.

Health outcomes in the county health rankings represent how healthy a county is. The study measures two types of health outcomes: how long people live (mortality), and how healthy people feel while alive (morbidity).

Researchers examine mortality (or death) data to find out how long people live. More specifically, they measure what are known as premature deaths (defined as deaths before age 75).

In reporting morbidity, researchers report on the measures of health-related quality of life (overall health, physical health, and mental health). Birth outcomes (in this case, babies born with a low birth weight) are also considered.

In addition to the health outcomes ranking, there is a health factors ranking.

According to the study website, the reason there are two separate rankings is, “We believe that there are two separate sets of messages to convey. One set addresses how healthy a county currently is, and the other addresses how healthy a county might be in the future, based on the many factors that influence health. However, if a single ranking of the ‘healthiest’ counties is desired, we use the health outcomes rank.”

Meeker County slipped from 21 to 25 in the health outcomes ranking in 2012, and dropped to number 30 this year.

The full rankings and more information are available at www.countyhealthrankings.org.

Who is healthy and who is not?

According to the report, the state’s healthiest counties are:

1) Carver

2) Steele

3) Waseca

4) Dodge

5) Scott

6) Winona

7) McLeod

8) Yellow Medicine

9) Nobles

10) Washington

The state’s least healthy counties are:

78) Cottonwood

79) Wadena

80) Beltrami

81) Carlton

82) Morisson

83) Lake

84) Traverse

85) Mille Lacs

86) Mahnomen

87) Cass

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