Once again, Chester County has been ranked overall as the healthiest county in Pennsylvania, according to a study by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The study placed Chester County at the top of the Health Outcomes category, relating to length and quality of life, and number two in Health Factors which include health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment, according to the study.
The report is designed to allow counties to determine where they are doing well and where they need to improve. According to the study, Delaware County ranked 35th out of Pennsylvania's 67 counties for Health Outcomes and 15th for Health Factors.
The rankings compare counties within each state on more than 30 factors that impact health, including such social determinants as education, jobs, housing, exercise, commuting times and more. Now in its seventh year, counties can get a snapshot of how healthy their residents are by comparing their overall health and the factors that influence their health, with other counties in their state.
“This recognition demonstrates that Chester County is a community ahead of the curve,” said Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Terence Farrell in a county press release. “The leadership of our Health Department, the network of hospitals, healthcare providers, health clinics, social service-related nonprofit organizations, and our environmental stewardship and recreational resources, all add up to a recognition as number one when it comes to a healthy quality of life.”
Commissioner Kathi Cozzone added that the county recognizes the importance of all the conditions that impact the well-being of residents – from treatment and education on health issues, to the impact of jobs, housing, schooling, transportation, and exercise.
“Our top ranking indicates that we’re doing many things right, but we will continue to address those areas where we know we can improve,” Cozzone said in the release.
Commissioner Michelle Kichline agreed, noting that Chester County’s strategic plan includes a priority on Health, Human Services and the Environment, with goals that address the health factors identified in the County Health Rankings study.
“In addition, our RoadMAPP to Health – a county-wide collaborative effort to assess our residents’ health and identify and address health-related social service needs – is currently engaged in a long-term community health improvement plan,” Kichline said in the release.
Details of the 2016 County Health Rankings Report are posted on the Chester County Health Department website, www.chesco.org/healthycounty. For several years, Chester County has ranked first or second.