Report says Kent Co. remains the state's least healthy county
A recent report has ranked Sussex County as the healthiest county in the state, while Kent is ranked the least healthy.
This overall finding is on par with previous population health reports from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The study noted that Sussex County residents tended to live longer and have better quality lives. New Castle County performed better in terms of health factors, like access to clinical care. In New Castle, there is one mental health provider per 360 people, while Kent has one per 630.
National trends indicate that rural areas tend to have higher rates of smoking, obesity, teen pregnancies and uninsured adults, making them generally more unhealthy than urban areas.
However, Sussex outperformed New Castle County in terms of length and quality of life. Mary Bennett is an associate researcher at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“I think when you look at Sussex, even though it’s a rural county, I think the economic vitality is healthier and therefore, affecting other things like access to clinical care, health behaviors” said Bennett.
Sussex has the best high school graduation rate out of the three counties, which Bennett says is one of the strongest predictors of long-term health.
Bennett also says that while the data is useful in seeing areas in need of improvement, the data may not entirely reflect local efforts to improve community health issues.
A complete report can be found online at countyhealthrankings.org.