Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said that once communities have a better understanding of the problems that affect the people who live there, the better chance they have of fixing them. “Action starts with information and awareness,” she said.
The study, released by RWJF and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, is based on research across a number of factors in each county of every state. The study ranks Mississippi, Oklahoma and Alabama as harboring the unhealthiest communities. The rankings are done on a state-to-state basis and don’t compare counties across state lines.
Poorly ranked counties often have multiple health challenges to overcome, including higher rates of premature death, high smoking rates that lead to cancer and heart disease, and high rates of obesity, the study's authors said.
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