Quality of life, premature death, healthy births among factors considered
(Aspen, CO) Pitkin County is ranked as the healthiest county in the state of 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 which ones are healthiest. The rankings take into account factors like healthy births, premature death (who dies before reaching age 75), and quality of life including overall health, both physical and mental. Rankings show that the healthiest counties are also the ones that have fewer teen births, smokers, and kids living in poverty in addition to less unemployment, violent crime, people who have completed higher education and who have 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 Pitkin County Environmental Public Health Advocate, Tom Dunlop.
In Colorado, Pitkin County is ranked healthiest followed by Douglas County, located between Colorado Springs and Denver, Eagle County in the third place spot, followed by Boulder and Summit counties rounding out the top five. To view statewide rankings go to www.countyhealthrankings.org.
“Our business and political leaders, and residents can be credited as very forward thinking when it comes to our overall health in Pitkin County,” Dunlop said. “We’ve long had an underlying theme of healthfulness in everything from air and water quality and our emphasis on exercise and healthy diet to our access to health and human services.”
Dunlop, who served as Pitkin County Director of Environmental Health for 25 years before his retirement in 2001, also credits programs including annual health fairs, local physical and mental health services for the indigent, and the many other health and human services available throughout the county as reasons for Pitkin County’s high health ranking.
“The only danger of being ranked in the top position is our becoming complacent,” Dunlop says. “Good health must be on everyone’s mind on a daily basis.”