Bristol and Warren residents live in the best county in Rhode Island for their health, according to a study released last week.
The study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute ranks Bristol County first out of the state’s five counties for a range of factors that influence health.
Residents of Bristol County, for instance, rank second for premature deaths, and first for morbidity (poor or fair physical and mental health), clinical care (from physicians, hospitals and dentists), and a variety of socioeconomic factors.
The one knock against the region was a fourth-place finish in the physical environment factors, which include percentage of low-income residents who do not have access to fresh foods, 12 percent versus 6 percent for the state.
Bristol County also fell below the state average for number of recreational facilities, with 10, compared to the state average of 15.
The County Health Rankings rank the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states, and allow counties to see how they compare to other counties within the state based on a range of factors that influence health.
“Given Rhode Island’s small size, we tend not to see major differences from county to county,” said Michael Fine, M.D., director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH). “Still, this report gives us a glimpse at how Rhode Islanders are faring at the community level, a matter of particular interest as we think about designing a healthcare system that addresses the unique needs of individual communities throughout the state.”
The Rankings are one part of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program. Communities take information from the County Health Rankings, and then use the County Health Roadmaps to build connections with local and national partners to improve health, according to the state Health Department.
What do you think?
Do the rankings back up what you already think of Bristol County — or is it a surprise to see Bristol and Warren at the top of the state's healt rankings?
What else do you think can be done to improve the physical environment factors reported in the study?
Post your thoughts in the comments section below.