Health rankings place St. Johns top in Florida; Union, Putnam at bottom

Duval County ranks in bottom half of state health outcomes

By Steve Patrick - News4Jax digital managing editor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - St. Johns County residents are the healthiest in Florida, according to annual rankings released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

St. John's has held the title of the healthiest county since 2014, rated No. 1 in both health factors and health outcomes. The study ranked Clay County No. 13 of Florida's 67 counties in health outcomes, with Flagler one spot behind. Nassau County was ranked 23nd, Duval County was ranked No. 42 and Baker County was ranked 48th.

The least-healthy county for health outcomes is Union, and Putnam rated second from last in the state. Bradford was ranked No. 62 -- fifth from the bottom.


This is the ninth year that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin Public Health Institute, has conducted annual county health rankings for every county in the United States.

The foundation examines health outcomes, access to medical care and socioeconomic factors such as child poverty rates and single-parent households.

Overall in Florida, 21 percent of children live in poverty, while the rate is 12 percent among the top-performing counties in the U.S. and the national child poverty rate is 20 percent.

The report showed 36 percent of Putnam County children live in poverty, while only 26 percent do in Union. Only 9 percent of St. Johns County children live in poverty, according to the data.

"The time is now to address long-standing challenges child poverty," Julie Willems Van Dijk, director of county health rankings with the foundation, said in a statement. "Every community should use their county health rankings data, work together, and find solutions so that all babies, kids and adults, regardless of their race or ethnicity, have the same opportunities to be healthy."

After a decade of improvements, the rate of low-weight births is beginning to creep up again, according to the foundation. Low birth-weight is a key indicator of overall health status in communities.

While population size is important for overall health, demographics and social economic status play a much greater role, according to the health officials.

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