Pitkin County ranks as healthiest in the state | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County ranks as healthiest in the state

ASPEN – Pitkin County is the healthiest county in Colorado, according to research compiled by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Every year more than 3,000 counties across the country are studied to determine the healthiest ones. The rankings take into account such factors as healthy births, premature death (before reaching age 75) and quality of life, including overall physical and mental health.

Rankings show that the healthiest counties are also the ones that have fewer teen births, smokers and kids living in poverty. Other factors include less unemployment and violent crime, coupled with a highly educated populace that has better access to primary health-care services.

“The healthy county rankings aren’t done to expose counties less fortunate than ours as unhealthy as much as they are done in hopes that the healthier counties in the state can be role models to the unhealthier ones and share ideas and resources to help boost the health of the state overall,” said Tom Dunlop, Pitkin County environmental public health advocate, in a prepared statement.

In Colorado, Pitkin County ranked as healthiest, followed by Douglas County, located between Colorado Springs and Denver. Eagle County ranked third, with Boulder and Summit counties rounding out the top five.

Dunlop, who served as county director of environmental health for 25 years before his retirement in 2001, credits business and political leaders in the county, as well as its residents, for being forward-thinking when it comes to overall health. Programs such as annual health fairs, local physical and mental health services for the indigent, and other health and human services also contribute to the county’s high ranking, he said.

“The only danger of being ranked in the top position is our becoming complacent,” Dunlop said.

Go to http://www.countyhealthrankings.org to view the rankings.

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