A new report details the healthiest — and least healthy — counties in Iowa, based on more than 30 factors that influence how long and how well people live.
Michael Stevenson, a team leader at the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute, says Iowans can log on and see how their individual counties stack up.
“The healthiest counties in the state of Iowa are Dallas coming in at number one, Winneshiek coming in at number two, and Sioux coming in at number three,” Stevenson says. “The counties ranking among the least healthy in Iowa this year are Monona, Lee and Montgomery.”
One of the big expenses families face is child care. The report finds the typical Iowa family with two children will spend 24-percent of their annual income on child care, just one-point below the national average of 25-percent.
“There’s multiple factors that influence how long and how well we live,” Stevenson says. “This includes things like access to health care or health behaviors, things that we traditionally think about when we think about health, but it also includes things like access to a good job or access to safe and affordable housing.”
The report’s authors hope the information is used by leaders from public health and health care, business, education, and government to provide everyone a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being.
“What’s important to understand is that every county has its strengths and weaknesses,” Stevenson says. “So even though a county may be ranked low in comparison to other counties within the state, there are things that they’re doing well, but there are also opportunities for them to make a difference, and to really improve the conditions that help us all be healthy.”
This is the 12th year for the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, which offers communities across the nation the tools and resources to help them take action to improve health.