A national research group has again ranked Philadelphia as the least healthy county in Pennsylvania.
For the past three years, the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute has compared the overall wellness of counties within states across the nation.
They look at health indicators such as preventable death, smoking, teen pregnancy, and the regional pervasiveness of unhealthy food options. Every year so far, Philadelphia has taken the state’s lowest distinction.
Institute researcher Angela Russell hopes this news will inspire, not discourage, Philadelphia residents.
“Sometimes people get disheartened by being ranked the least healthy county in your state,” said Russell. “But there are great examples across the nation of how the least healthy counties have used the rankings to ignite action.”
Chester, Bucks and Montgomery counties all ranked in the state’s top 10. Union County, located in the center of the state, was ranked first.
New Castle County took Delaware’s top honor, while South Jersey’s counties ranked in the bottom third of the institute’s list.
Russell said that low ranking counties such as Philadelphia and those in South Jersey all have an influx of residents lacking in both financial stability and schooling.
“Education and income have a direct impact on the health of individuals and health of communities,” said Russell. “There’s a specific link to the more years of formal education someone has to overall improved health outcomes.”
The institute made its rankings based on data collected by sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Center for Health and the FBI.