by Marcia Engvall
Special to the Star News
Sherburne County ranked 34th in health outcomes and 22nd in health factors, according to the 2011 County Health Rankings report released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
“It is important to recognize that where we live matters,” said Kathy Landwehr, public health supervisor. “The County Health Rankings show us where our county is doing well and where there are opportunities for improvement, that much of what influences our health happens outside of the doctor’s office, and that the health of our community is everyone’s responsibility.”
Community includes public health, health care providers, education, businesses, government, community and faith-based groups, and community members, Landwehr said.
The report ranks both health outcomes and health factors in order to highlight the wide array of issues that determine health in local communities. Health outcomes include the rate of people dying before age 75, the percentage of people who report being in fair or poor health, and the rate of low-birth-weight infants. Health factors include health behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment.
The County Health Rankings, which launched nationwide last year, use a standard formula to measure the health of the more than 3,000 counties across the United States. The rankings are designed to compare the health of counties within each state; they do not compare counties in Minnesota with counties in other states.
Sherburne County Health & Human Services already does measurements of the health of our community. A comprehensive assessment and planning process is conducted every five years to identify public health issues and strategies for improving health as a requirement of the Minnesota Local Public Health Act.
“The County Health Rankings will be used along with other measurement tools to further health discussions throughout Sherburne County,” Landwehr added. “Public health is defined as ‘fulfilling society’s interest in assuring conditions in which people can be healthy.’ In Sherburne County, we promote and protect the health of residents through education, prevention services, regulation, and advocacy. We also foster a partnership with many organizations and community groups to address and resolve health issues and concerns.”
The complete County Health Rankings are available at www.countyhealthrankings.org.