|Updated: 3/30/2011 10:23 pm
||Published: 3/30/2011 4:38 pm
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR – A new report ranks every Arkansas county by how healthy their residents are and how long they will live. According to the report, residents of Phillips County are twice as likely to die a premature death as residents of Benton County.
This is the second year that these rankings have been published by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The report was release during the annual Sustainability Conference in North Little Rock. The conference is called “Funding Your Future” and is sponsored by the Hometown Health Improvement branch of the Arkansas Department of Health. The conference is made up of representatives from health coalition groups from each county. Representatives say the conference is an opportunity to share what's working and fix what isn't.
The rankings take into consideration issues such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, cancer and tobacco use. Concerns in counties at the bottom of the list are affordability, access to healthcare, education, and employment.
Generally, counties in the northwest are the healthiest, and become unhealthier as you move south and east.
Ed Barham with the Arkansas State Health Department says better health means a better economic result. The data exposes where efforts should be focused.
Quranner Cotledge is the Program Coordinator for the Southeast Region of Hometown Health Improvement. He says we can do something to improve the health in bottom ranking counties by working together.
Health experts, like Elesa Brown from Faulkner County, are discussing ways to fund health initiatives based on the results. "You can compare and work things out by identifying problems and seeing what works and try to implement those strategies in other counties."
After the conference, the representatives will go back to their communities and work on ways to solve health problems in their own counties.
Arkansas Counties Ranked from Healthiest to Unhealthiest
- Hot Spring
- Little River
- Van Buren
- St. Francis