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Think Out Loud

County Health Rankings

Pete Springer/OPB

Does where you live affect how healthy you are? In some cases, it might. Last week, the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released a study which ranked the health of counties in every state in the nation. Benton County came out on top for Oregon and Jefferson County was ranked the least healthy county in the state. Statistically, there are some stark differences between Benton and Jefferson. For example, 18 percent of people in Jefferson County are in “fair or poor health” versus just 10 percent in Benton. But there are other factors they share. For instance, 26 percent of the population in both Benton and Jefferson Counties is uninsured.

We’ll explore the rankings with Dr. Katrina Hedberg, state epidemiologist with the Oregon Public Health Division. She’ll explain the rankings, why they matter, and what public health officials are doing with them.

Where does your county rate in this survey? How do you think where you live influences how healthy you are? Do you have good access to doctors? Have you ever not been able to get medical care?

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