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New rankings show healthiest and least healthy counties in Florida; St. Johns the healthiest

Which counties were the healthiest and most unhealthy throughout the Sunshine State?

St. Johns County ranked first in both key indexes used by the seventh annual county health rankings by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which partners with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute to work with communities around the country to take a  snapshot and learn how our environments affect us.

It was St. Johns County’s six consecutive year taking both the “health outcomes” category, which accounts for length and quality of life, and “health factors,” a complex metric comprised of lifestyle habits, access to medical care, area socioeconomics and the physical and the physical environment around us.

Collier, Sarasota, Seminole and Martin counties round out the top five health outcomes. In health factors, Sarasota, Martin, Seminole and Collier round out the top five in that index.

So those are the healthiest.

Which are the unhealthiest?

Gadsden and Union counties are at or near the bottom again.

The rankings use self-reported information, factoring in natural and unnatural deaths — both intentional and unintentional. Smoking, traffic, car accidents, alcohol consumption and much more are used in the data.

The biggest surprise, said Aliana Havrilla, a community coach with County Health Rankings and Roadmaps? Deaths of younger generations are on the rise.

“Drugs are a big factor in the category,” Havrilla told FloridaPolitics.com Tuesday. “This is a key trend we’re seeing right now.”

Havrilla said that what their researchers are learning is that where we live definitely has an influence on us.

The 2016 rankings examined the differences between rural and urban influences on how humans live.

“The rankings help to see where the counties are doing well and where improvements are needed,” the community coach said.

All resources used in the rankings are available online at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website.

Written By

Les Neuhaus is an all-platform journalist, with specialties in print reporting and writing. In addition to Florida Politics, he freelances as a general-assignment and breaking-news reporter for most of the major national daily newspapers, along with a host of digital media, and a human rights group. A former foreign correspondent across Africa and Asia, including the Middle East, Les covered a multitude of high-profile events in chronically-unstable nations. He’s a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, in which he served as a Security Policeman, and graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in political science. He is a proud father to his daughter and enjoys spending time with his family.

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