Rural, suburban counties dominate top of annual health report for Pa.
Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | 03.29.17
(Harrisburg) -- An annual report on health in counties across Pennsylvania ranks many suburban and rural regions higher than urban areas .
Chester County tops the list for health outcomes, followed by Centre, Union, Montgomery and Cumberland counties. The report says more people in Chester County are exercising, being monitored for diabetes, and avoiding stays in the hospital that are preventable.
They're all near the top in health factors too, which looks at everything from smoking and obesity to air pollution and how many people have long commutes by themselves.
The annual report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation aims to show what counties are doing well, and areas where they can improve.
The foundation's Andrea Ducas says rural counties can fare better for a number of reasons.
"What is the community that you live in look like? What's the quality of your schools? What meals are students eating at lunch? How close is the community when it comes to the relationship that people have with one another?" says Ducas.
"It's not all that surprising when you look at some rural counties for example, which might have higher degrees of connectdness. Neighbors know each other, they understand their issues, they work together to address them."
Ducas says the rankings also expose some racial disparities too, pointing to a higher number of black and Hispanic children who live in poverty compared to white children.
Philadelphia has never ranked higher than last in the state since the report started in 2011.
Published in Personal Transformation