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Study: St. Johns is healthiest county in Florida

Joining us to talk about the annual County Healthy Rankings by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin is Abbey Cofsky.
Joining us to talk about the annual County Healthy Rankings by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin is Abbey Cofsky.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – St. Johns County residents might be considered the healthiest people in Florida.

That's according to the latest annual County Health Rankings, which put St. Johns on top for both health outcomes and other health factors.

This is the sixth annual report of its kind for Florida.

According to the report, the rankings illustrate what health officials know about what makes people healthy or sick. An additional Roadmap outlines what counties can do to improve the health of their residents.

Officials contributing to the report examined each county's high school graduation rates, accessibility to healthy foods, smoking rates, obesity rates and the number of teen births.

DOCUMENT: 2015 County Health Rankings for Florida

In a ranking comparing health outcomes, weighing the length and quality of life, St. Johns County ranked No. 1 overall out of 67 counties. Clay County came in at 11, Flagler at 22, Nassau at 24, Duval at 43, Columbia 54, Bradford at 56, Baker at 62 and Putnam ranked 65. Union County ranked last.

A second ranking examined health factors, such as health behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment. St. Johns again ranked first. Nassau ranked at 5, Clay 14, Flagler 29, Duval 28, Bradford 34, Baker 41, Columbia 50, and Union at 52. Putnam County fell to the bottom in this category.

In a statement from St. Johns County, health officials there note the county has been ranked No. 1 in health outcomes and health factors four years in a row. They praised the collaboration of various community groups and the health department, including the school district and the sheriff's office.

In a statement from Clay County, health officials conclude that health literacy has been an issue for Clay County residents. In the statement, Lisa Leiby with the Clay County Literacy Council noted a limited access to care for some of the residents. She also wrote that some residents whose first language is not English may have trouble understanding exactly what their doctors are prescribing.

Duval County health officials said in a statement that by working with community partners, the department has seen some progress in Duval County's overall health outcomes. They note the department is continually engaged in the assessment process to address the county's most pressing health concerns.

According to additional information within the report, Florida's percentage of adult smokers is lower than the national average. That's also true for the average number of adults who are obese. Florida, however, has a higher average of people under 65 years old who don't have health insurance.