County health rankings santa rosa county soars, escambia struggles

YMCA members get their workouts done friday, march 16, 2018. The robert wood johnson foundation and the university of wisconsin’s population health institute released their annual rankings of the health of nearly every county in the country on wednesday. Among florida’s 67 counties, santa rosa county ranked no. 12 overall, while escambia county ranked no. 53 based on a variety of factors like physical and mental health, poverty and access to health care. (photo: tony giberson/tgiberson@pnj.Com) buy photo

The robert wood johnson foundation and the university of wisconsin’s population health institute released their annual rankings of the health of nearly every county in the country. The county health rankings look at more than 30 factors — education, housing, jobs, transportation, access to medical care and more — that influence how long and how well people live.Escambia county

One of the categories that set santa rosa county apart was its "social and economic factors," which was ranked third overall in the state. The county performed better than the state average in every measure in the category, including high school graduation rates, percentage of children in poverty, percentage of children in single-parent households and number of reported violent crimes.

Santa rosa county ranked no. 10 in the state for quality of life, which assessed things like the number of sick days and mental health days workers took off and the percentage of babies with low birth weights.Escambia county

The county also performed well in "length of life," ranking no. 16, but was closer to the middle of the pack in terms of health behaviors (smoking, drinking, obesity, etc.) and clinical care (the number of uninsured people, health providers, preventable hospital stays, etc.), ranking 34th and 28th respectively.

The only category where santa rosa had a poor showing was "physical environment," where the county ranked no. 50 based on factors like air pollution, commute times and commuters driving alone.

Conversely, physical environment was the one area where escambia county shined.Escambia county the area ranked no. 21, its best showing in any category. That number was bolstered mainly by the fact that only 21 percent of surveyed commuters reported traveling more than 30 minutes to work. The state average was 40 percent.

Escambia county had fairly middling scores in most other categories, ranking 35th in social and economic factors, 30th in clinical care, 36 in health behaviors and 44th in quality of life.

The county fared the worst in "length of life," which measure premature deaths (or people who die before age 75). Escambia county has 9,300 years of potential life lost per 100,000 population.Escambia county the state average is 6,800.

The robert wood johnson foundation and the university of wisconsin population health institute release the health rankings annually as a means to identify areas of achievement and opportunity in our communities’ health.

Summarizing the full report, the authors wrote, "this year’s new rankings state reports show meaningful gaps in health persist not only by place, but also by race and ethnicity. This year’s analyses show that lack of opportunity, such as education, jobs, and affordable housing, disproportionately affects people of color across the nation and within florida."