Collier County Healthiest in Florida 2nd Year in a Row!
Collier County has retained its healthiest county ranking in Florida for a second year in a row, which is being attributed to lifestyle and improved access to medical care, according to an analysis by a leading private philanthropic organization.Lee County experienced a two-place drop to 23 among the state’s 67 counties while it ranked 21 last year, according to the analysis by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropic group focused on improving the health of Americans. The analysis was done with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.This is the second year the county health rankings has been done nationwide to help communities see where they stand in their state and where to focus efforts for improvement.After Collier, the other top healthiest counties, in order, are Seminole, St. Johns, Sarasota, Martin, Clay, Leon, Miami-Dade, Okaloosa and Broward.The 10 counties with the poorest health are Union, Putnam, Madison, Gadsden, Levy, Baker, Dixie, Hamilton, Washington, and Glades.
The healthiest counties are clustered in the southern part of the state while the least healthy are primarily in the north.Data from 2003 through 2009 was used in this year’s analysis, the most recent available, according to study authors.“The credit for our stellar No. 1 status belongs to the entire community as the health of our community depends on every individual and a variety of stakeholders including our hospital systems, healthcare providers, emergency services, law enforcement, education, social services and employers,” Dr. Joan Colfer, director of the Collier County Health Department, said in a statement.Collier’s ranking for access to clinical care and quality care improved dramatically, for a ranking of 30 compared to last year’s 37, and it maintained lower rates for adult smoking, obesity, low birth-weight infants and sexually transmitted diseases than state averages.For instance, Collier’s adult smoking rate is 17 percent compared to the state’s 20 percent, and the local obesity rate is 21 percent compared to 24 percent statewide.
On the other hand, Collier has more uninsured adults at 35 percent compared to the state population of 27 percent, according to the analysis.There also are fewer primary-care physicians locally, one for every 1,191 residents compared to one for every 983 residents statewide.Still, Collier had a lower preventable hospital stays at 42 per 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries compared to the state at 65 preventable hospitalizations per 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries.“Where you live does matter to your health, and the new rankings confirm once again that we live in a great place,” Dr. Allen Weiss, president and chief executive officer of the NCH Healthcare System, said.In neighboring Lee, the adult smoking rate went down two points to 23 percent compared to last year’s 25 percent and the obesity rate stayed the same at 25 percent. The low birth-weight rate of 8.4 percent was on par with the state’s 8.5 percent rate.
The number of uninsured adults rose to 31 percent compared to last year’s 28 percent.The rate of preventable hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries improved this year to 55 per 1,000 seniors on Medicare compared to 58 per 1,000 last year.“A lot of the changes are attributable to the economy,” said Dr. Judith Hartner, director of the Lee department. “The data is a couple of years old and will reflect what happened in the past than what we are seeing today. Clearly what the health rankings show is this isn’t fixed over night and we can’t look at one sector. It requires education, public health, law enforcement and health care providers.”
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