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St. Johns ranked healthiest county in Florida

Of the 67 counties in the Sunshine State, St. Johns County is the healthiest and Union County is the least healthy.

The rankings are included in a new research report released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Health rankings were determined by “how long people live and how healthy people feel,” according to the report.

Researchers measured length of life using premature death statistics (years of potential life lost before age 75) and assessed quality of life through self-reported answers on physical and mental well-being, along with collecting the percentage of low birthweight newborns in each area.

Following St. Johns County, the next healthiest counties are Collier County, Martin County, Seminole County, and Miami-Dade County. Bringing up the rear in front of Union County are Putnam, Madison, Gadsden and Dixie counties.

Hillsborough and Pinellas counties ranked in the upper-middle percentile at 25 and 26, respectively. Orange County was ranked 15, and Leon County came in at 16. South Florida counties Palm Beach and Broward both finished in the top 10.

The report also compares racial demographics with county health outcomes.

White and American Indian/Alaskan groups have health outcomes similar to those living in the middle pack of counties. Black respondents, however, indicated answers most similar to those living in the least healthy quartile of counties.

Hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islanders are the healthiest demographic in Florida.

To some, the demographic results show a need to address socioeconomic factors in the state.

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“By demonstrating how health varies by race and ethnicity, this year’s County Health Rankings data offers a way for leaders to address health disparities in their communities and advocate for change,” said Dr. Roderick King, CEO of the Florida Institute for Health Innovation, in a news release accompanying the report. “It will take collaborative efforts across multiple sectors — health, housing, community development, finance, social services, and education — to develop strategies for achieving health equity. Leveraging the County Health Rankings data is an important step toward realizing this goal in Florida.”

Since at least 2015, the report has ranked St. Johns County, which includes St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach and Ponte Vedra Beach, as the healthiest county.

Written By

Danny McAuliffe is a Tallahassee correspondent for Florida Politics. He is a graduate of Florida State University, where he served as the editor of the FSView & Florida Flambeau. He is a lifelong Floridian and indulges in swimming, hiking, running and memes when the news cycle permits. Reach him at dmcauliffe500@gmail.com.

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