Thursday, March 28, 2013 2013 County Health Rankings Show New National Trends The 2013 County Health Rankings allow counties to see what medical and social conditions and behaviors are making its residents sick or healthy, and how they compare to other counties in the same state. This is the fourth year of the Rankings, published online by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The rankings data help to lay the groundwork for health improvement efforts of governors, mayors, business leaders, and citizens across the country. The County Health Rankings examines 25 factors that influence health, including rates of childhood poverty, rates of smoking, obesity levels, teen birth rates, access to physicians and dentists, rates of high school graduation and college attendance, access to healthy foods, levels of physical inactivity, and percentages of children living in single parent households. Although the rankings only allow for county-to-county comparisons within a state, this year’s rankings show significant new national trends: The counties where people don’t live as long and don't feel as well mentally or physically have the highest rates of smoking, teen births, and physical inactivity, and more preventable hospital stays. Access to health care remains an important factor and this year, the rankings include residents' access to dentists and primary care physicians. Residents living in healthier counties are 1.4 times more likely to have access to a physician and dentist than those in the least healthy counties.