Turns out Scott County is not too shabby when it comes to the health of its residents. The county was ranked 10th out of 84 counties in a 2012 study conducted by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).
Carver County ranked 2nd, while Dakota County ranked 8th in the state. Hennepin County came at 52nd and Ramsey County came in at 61st in 2012.
This is the third year the rankings have been done as an annual check-up highlighting the healthiest and least healthy counties in all 50 states.
It includes factors that influence health outside of the doctor’s office such as education rates, income levels, and access to healthy foods, as well as access to medical care, all of which influence how long and how well people live.
The healthiest five counties in Minnesota were Steele as No. 1, then Carver, McLeod, Douglas, and Fillmore counties. The bottom six counties ranked were Cass (84), followed by Mahnomen (83), Pipestone (82), Norman (81), Wadena (80) and Lake (79). Three counties—Traverse, Lake of the Woods, and Kittison—didn't make the survey.
Among the study’s noteworthy Scott County findings:
- 16 percent of adults smoke
- 25 percent of adults are obese
- 9 percent are in poor or fair health
- 22 percent engage in excessive drinking
- 8 percent are uninsured
- 83 percent of adults are high school graduates
- 78 percent of adults have some college education
“The County Health Rankings show us that much of what influences our health happens outside of the doctor’s office," Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of RWJF said in a prepared statement. "In fact, where we live, learn, work and play has a big role in determining how healthy we are and how long we live."
One initiative promoting better health in Scott County was launched last year in the form of a website. GoScottGo.org, has been lauded by county officials as the one-stop shop for all things recreation in the county.
“It provides resources so people can more easily integrate physical activity into their daily lives,” said Andy Hingeveld, associate planner with Scott County.
GoScottGo.org was born out of a collaboration with Carver County, which launched GoCarverGo.org in 2008. It was funded through a grant from the Statewide Health Improvement Program of the Minnesota Department of Health.
According to the American Public Health Association, this week, April 2-8, is National Public Health Week. Gov. Mark Dayton declared the week for Minnesota as a way to recognize the state's public healthcare system.
"Minnesota's public health system is one of the best in the nation," said Gov. Dayton. "I want to applaud the public health professionals at the Minnesota Department of Health and at local public health and tribal health agencies across the state for doing such a stellar job of protecting our health and improving our overall quality of life."