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posted on February 17, 2010 11:05


New ReportRanksLatahCounty as Idaho’s Healthiest
A new report released today ranks LatahCounty as the healthiest of Idaho’s counties, followed by Madison and Blaine counties. A full list of county rankings, developed by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, scored Idaho and other states’ counties on 28 different criteria to rank overall health at the community level.
“The study shows that there is a broad spectrum of factors that influence our health—including education, income, employment, access to medical care, seatbelt use and local crime rates,” says Jane Smith, Chief Health Official for the Idaho Division of Public Health. “This is a unique effort that provides valuable data about communities that can be a catalyst to improve the health of Idahoans.”
This report, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is the first to rank the overall health of counties in all 50 states by using a standard formula to measure how healthy people are and how long they live. The Wisconsin Population Health Institute has been conducting a similar survey in Wisconsin since 2003. 
The online report, available at, includes a snapshot of 42 of the Idaho’s 44 counties, with a color-coded map comparing each county’s overall health ranking. In Idaho, Camas and Clark counties are not included in the report because there was insufficient data for reliable comparisons.
High ranking counties include areas where people live longer than 75 years, their health is generally good and their quality of life is high. The report shows there are differences in the overall health across Idaho counties, which are due to many factors ranging from individual behaviors to the availability of quality healthcare, access to healthy foods and the quality of air.
“We all want healthy communities where our children and families can thrive,” Smith says. “Our challenge is to evaluate the unequal distribution of health across our state and support the local communities to improve. We encourage leaders in local government, business, community and faith-based groups, education and the local public health districts to work together to identify strategies that can improve the health of our citizens.”
(Editors: For a copy of the study ranking the counties, please visit The site also provides background and explains the methodology used for the report. For local information specific to an Idaho county, please contact your local Public Health District Public Information Officer. For statewide questions, please contact Emily Simnitt, DHW Public Information Officer, at 208-334-0693.)