(UNDATED) - Hamilton, Hendricks and Boone Counties lead the state in health quality according to an annual report, and it's the second straight year those counties have been on top.
The County Health Rankings are compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. They are based on data from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, which it collects from state health departments and allows counties to see how well they are doing on 29 factors that influence health.
"They look at things like smoking rates, obesity rates, high school graduation rates, and access to fast food restaurants," said Kristin Adams, director of the state's Office of Public Health Performance Management.
The Rankings rate overall health for all 92 Indiana counties by using a standard formula to measure how healthy people are and how long they live.
Hamilton, Hendricks and Boone Counties were again the top three, followed by LaGrange, Brown, Dubois, Wells, Monroe, Whitley and Tippecanoe Counties.
Delaware, Lawrence, and Sullivan Counties are the bottom three counties. Marion County ranked 79th.
"They do some statistical modeling to get to the county-level data. Many of the data analyses are done on several years worth of data," Adams said, meaning the rankings often reflect trends rather than year-to-year numbers.
Two of the biggest drivers for poor health outcomes are obesity and tobacco use. But Adams says the rankings are also influenced by local economics. "If you look at how industry has changed within Indiana, where some of the high paying jobs used to be are no longer, and that hurts the infrastructure of a community."
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