The Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Foundation has released its annual National County Health Rankings, which it says helps “provide a revealing snapshot of how health is influenced by where we live, learn, work and play.”

The County Health Rankings is a collaboration between the foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. It measures the health of nearly all counties in the nation and rank them within states.

Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson says “this is a highly detailed national study of all counties and it reveals important areas of major health concerns all counties need to improve upon.” Johnson adds that this study reaches similar conclusions made by other reports on health in Mohave County “and the difficult problems we face locally.”

The RWJ Rankings are compiled using county-level measures from a variety of national and state data sources. These measures are standardized and combined using “scientifically-informed weights.” The major goal of the County Rankings reports RWJ is to raise awareness about “the many factors that influence health and that health varies from place to place, not to produce a list of the healthiest 10 or 20 counties in the nation and only focus on that.”

Counties in each of the 50 states are ranked according to summaries of a variety of health measures. Those having high ranks are considered to be the “healthiest.” Counties are ranked relative to the health of other counties in the same state. It’s all based on the following:

Overall Health Outcomes
Health Outcomes – Length of life
Health Outcomes – Quality of life
Overall Health Factors
Health Factors – Health behaviors
Health Factors – Clinical care
Health Factors – Social and economic factors
Health Factors – Physical environment

The County Health Rankings are compiled from many different types of data. The county with the lowest score (best health) gets a rank of #1 for that state and the county with the highest score –worst health– is assigned a rank corresponding to the number of places ranked in that state.)

In Arizona, here is the Overall Ranking in Health Outcomes for the counties (this mesans how healthy the counties are within the state of Arizona. The healthiest county of the 15 is ranked number 1. The ranks are based on the measures of “how long people live” and “how healthy people feel while alive.”)

1 Maricopa (MA)
2 Greenlee (GE)
3 Yuma (YU)
4 Pinal (PN)
5 Pima (PI)
6 Yavapai (YA)
7 Santa Cruz (SC)
8 Cochise (CO)
9 Coconino (CC)
10 Graham (GR)
11 Mohave (MO)
12 Gila (GI)
13 La Paz (LP)
14 Navajo (NA)
15 Apache (AP)

The actual specifics on Mohave County’s Health Outcomes can be found at this link — Arizona doesn’t fare that well nationally and Mohave County doesn’t do well county-wise statewide regarding Health Outcomes in such areas as premature deaths, physical and mental health.

The other area covered by the study is Health Factors (this is what influences the health of a county. They are an estimate of the future health of counties as compared to other counties within a state.

The rankings are based on health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic, and physical environment factors.) Mohave County did slightly better here, coming in at number 9. (See link the above for specifics on Health Factors)

1 Yavapai (YA)
2 Pima (PI)
3 Maricopa (MA)
4 Coconino (CC)
5 Cochise (CO)
6 Greenlee (GE)
7 Santa Cruz (SC)
8 Pinal (PN)
9 Mohave (MO)
10 Gila (GI)
11 Graham (GR)
12 La Paz (LP)
13 Yuma (YU)
14 Navajo (NA)
15 Apache (AP)

Jeannie Bowen, Special Programs Manager, for the Mohave County Dept. of Public Health says the health rankings from the Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Foundation are the same findings found in the Community Health Assessment (CHA), except for Physical Environment where Mohave reported ranking 14th out of 15th . Bowen adds “some of the other indicators come from different sources and different years, but the message and issues are the same.”

Bowen points out that “adult smoking/substance abuse and obesity top the list of adverse health behaviors. Preventable hospital stays and access to primary care physicians top the list for clinical care rankings.