Washington County ranked healthiest in Oregon

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One overall trend that the report took a closer look at this year was premature deaths between 1997 and 2014, categorized as deaths occurring for people under age 65, and a big contributor to these deaths nationally was drug overdoses, mainly among 15- to 44-year-olds. Its 645 violent crimes is topped only by Miami-Dade's 650, and its rate of sexually transmitted infections is the highest in the state. Its premature death rate of 5,700 is better than the Wisconsin average of 6,000. About 4.9 million young people in the United States - 1 out of 8 - fall into this category, the report said.

Native Americans, Alaskan Natives and African Americans continued to be the groups with the highest rates of premature deaths. The rate in Monroe County was 11 percent. But New Mexico girls 15 to 19 gave birth at a rate of 51 per 100,000 - a rate significantly higher than the US rate of 38 per 100,000 girls in that age group. It's drug overdose death rate is six per 100,000 people; the highest rate in the state is 18 per 100,000 in Scott County.

While Escambia did not perform well on the annual ranking (its health outcomes ranking also slipped a notch to 33 out of 67 counties), its neighbor Santa Rosa did significantly better - scoring a seven on health outcomes, and a 12 on health factors. Also, 81 percent of the population drives alone to work, the same as the state average.

The lower Hudson counties illustrate that often there is a fairly narrow gap between outcomes and the factors that lead to those results.

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The report said the five healthiest counties are Ozaukee, Kewaunee, St. Croix, Taylor and Washington.

An increase in drug overdose deaths is a key contributor to premature death in the US, along with vehicle accidents, homicides, suicides, and other injury deaths, the authors said. The assessment identified issues with substance abuse and addiction, tobacco use, nutrition, mental health support and primary care as key health issues for Ross County, with high lung cancer rates held up as a critical concern.

Two local counties continue to lag behind in both Health Factors and Health Outcomes. In addition, health disparities exist in our County.

By 2015, drug overdose deaths were the single largest cause of injury deaths in the US, it said.

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But the rankings still have value, he said, in demonstrating that health is affected by social, economical and environmental factors within a community.

"These issues can be affected positively by lifestyle including diet, exercise, smoking cessation, alcohol in moderation, avoidance of illicit drugs, and oral hygiene", he said.

"Naturally, we are pleased that our overall ranking in Texas has improved", said Shannon Jones, Director of Austin Public Health.

"The shift in quality of life is attributed to a decrease in the number of poor physical days, whereas the shift in the length of life is attributed to a decrease in premature deaths from 2016 to 2017", Nardelli said.

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Calls to the Duval County Health Department were not immediately returned. While its premature death rate remained the same, the reason for those deaths shifted from other preventable diseases to opioid overdoses.

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