A new report indicates St. Croix County has the healthiest residents in the state. The study is from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, which looked at factors such as access to health care, unemployment, and density of fast food restaurants in determining the health outcomes of residents living in the state’s 72 counties.
Rounding out the top five in the state were Ozaukee, Taylor, Iowa, and Vernon Counties. The lowest rankings went to Jackson, Adams, Milwaukee, Marquette, and Menominee Counties.
In four of the five lowest ranked counties, Institute Director Karen Timberlake says limited access to health care due to the rural setting was a major factor. While access to care is readily available in Milwaukee County, she says high levels of poverty and unemployment can take a toll on the health of the population.
Timberlake says the findings are intended to spark a discussion among local officials about what other communities are doing to promote active and healthy lifestyles. She says the rankings help show where they are doing well and where there is room for improvement.
Timberlake says, even in the healthiest communities, there is always something that can be done to improve the health of residents.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:06)