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Marin has regained its mantle as the healthiest county in California, based on rankings by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
The annual rankings compare California’s 58 counties on more than 30 factors that influence health including length of life, quality of life, health behaviors, access to health care, socioeconomic factors and physical environment. The years of data used to create the rankings vary widely by data category.
Last year, after seven consecutive years of being ranked No. 1, Marin slipped to No. 2 behind San Mateo County. Now it has reclaimed the title.
“The rankings highlight some of the healthiest aspects of our county. There is a lot to celebrate here,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County public health officer. “For example, high rates of regular physical activity and healthy nutrition contribute directly to our long life expectancy.”
According to the new report, only 12 percent of Marin residents over the age of 20 report having no leisure physical activity, the lowest in the state. Marin tied with San Francisco and Santa Cruz counties for the lowest percentage of obese residents, 18 percent. Marin has the third lowest percentage of residents who smoke tobacco, 10 percent.
Not all of Marin’s habits are so healthy, however. The 20 percent of Marin residents who report binge or heavy drinking in the last 30 days is among the highest in the state, as is Marin’s share of driving deaths with alcohol involvement, 32 percent.
Another reason for Marin’s consistently high health ranking is the access that its residents have to health care. According to the report, there is one primary care physician for every 630 Marin residents and one mental health provider for every 140 Marin residents. Only San Francisco County posts higher numbers in these categories.
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The report, however, makes clear that good health is influenced by a number of factors beyond medical care.
“To address health, we must address housing, education, child care and other social determinants,” said Mary Pittman, president of the Public Health Institute. “And to address those, we must face the impact of racism, income inequality and immigration policy in communities.”
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Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News