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New report ranks Sussex County healthiest, Kent least healthy

Kent County remains the least healthy county in the First State, according to an annual study from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

The study examined 30 factors that influence health including education, housing, violent crime, jobs, diet and exercise.Dr. Don Schwarz with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says one in five Kent County residnets are smokers, while a third are considered obese.

“There’s plenty of work to be done in Kent County in terms of improving the health of people both now and in the future for all those living in the county,” he said.

Schwarz says the study can be beneficial in steering local policy in Kent County and around the country..

“What we’re seeing in general is that the rankings give people measures and they help bring them together to begin talking about what can be done at a community level,” he said.

Sussex County eked out New Castle as Delaware’s healthiest, which came out on top last year in the County Health Rankings report.

Schwarz says there is some positive county-by-county data in Delaware. Sussex County has a higher life expectancy because of more opportunities for exercising outdoors.

New Castle County has also seen a reduction in violent crime.

There was also good news for Delaware as a whole: 19 percent of children in Delaware are living in poverty, compared to 25 percent across the U.S.