Westchester 9th Healthiest County in State, Report Finds

The title of healthiest county goes to Westchester’s neighbor to the north, Putnam County.
By Lisa Buchman

Weschester County is among the top ten healthiest counties in New York State, according to an annual ranking released by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Westchester ranked ninth out of 62 counties in New York for health—which means residents have lower rates of smoking, adult obesity and teen birth than the majority of counties across the state.

The report, in its third year, ranks each county within the state on how healthy people are and how long they live—they also are ranked on key factors that affect health such as: smoking, obesity, binge drinking, access to primary care providers, rates of high school graduation, rates of violent crime, air pollution levels, liquor store density, unemployment rates and number of children living in poverty.

Putnam County ranked first in the state and Bronx County ranked last. Nationwide, 3,000 counties were ranked.

Westchester was ahead of Putnam County on a few health factors, however, with slightly lower rates of smoking (14 percent, to Putnam’s 15 percent) and excessive drinking (14 percent to 19 percent, respectively).

Westchester County also reports a lower obesity rate than the number one-ranked county, with about 19 percent of Westchester’s population reported as obese, as compared to 27 percent of Putnam’s residents.

But on socio-economic factors which impact the health of residents, such as education level, violent crime rate and social supports, Westchester ranked lower.

Robert Wood Johnson officials said that the rankings could help a community learn more about what’s making people sick or healthy.

“Where we live, learn, work and play has a big role in determining how healthy we are and how long we live,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of RWJF. “The rankings are increasingly being used by community leaders to help them identify challenges and take action in a variety of ways to improve residents’ health.”

View the rankings and interactive mapping features at: http://www.countyhealthrankings.org.

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