Lake County ranks among the top 10 healthiest counties in Illinois according to a public health report card ranking the health of America's counties. The extensive report, developed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, ranks Lake County ninth of 102 counties in Illinois when measuring several factors, including length of life, quality of life, clinical care, health behaviors, socio/economic factors and physical environment.
"Overall, we are pleased with the ranking, which for the third consecutive year puts Lake County among the top 10 healthiest counties in Illinois," said Irene Pierce, Executive Director of the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center. "The report also identifies health issues in need of improvement. We found that the report's assessment was very much in line with a local community-led strategic planning process currently taking place in Lake County."
Both the county rankings report and the local strategic plan process recognize that adult obesity is an area of concern for the county. The rate of adult obesity in Lake County is calculated at 25 percent by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Lake County obesity percentage matches the national benchmark, and is slightly lower than the state's adult obesity measure of 27 percent. The Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center launched an obesity prevention conversation two years ago and will be working with the community to determine a strategy to reduce the rate.
Another area of concern is physical inactivity among Lake County residents. The report indicates that 19 percent of adults 20 years of age and older lack physical activity. That percentage is lower than the national benchmark of 21 percent and the state's 25 percent. Calculations in the report also show 54 percent of the restaurants in Lake County are fast food in contrast to a 25 percent national benchmark. Fast food numbers are similar in the other collar counties.
According to the county rankings report, Lake County has yet to reach national benchmark standards in several areas, including excessive drinking and adult smoking. Excessive drinking is at 16 percent while the national benchmark is 8 percent and Illinois is higher at 19 percent. Adult smoking is at 15 percent, which is higher than the national benchmark of 14 percent and lower than Illinois at 20 percent.
"Lake County is overall a healthy county but work still needs to be done," said Pierce. "The county rankings report and our local assessment have helped identify areas in need of attention. The local community and the health department will be working to improve these areas and to make Lake County a healthier county in which to live and work."
For more information on the report, visit: www.countyhealthrankings.org. For more information on the local strategic planning process known as MAPP, visit: http://www.lakecountyil.gov/Health/Pages/MAPP%20Project.aspx
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