Saturday, December 27, 2014

America's 50 Healthiest Counties for Kids

A new set of rankings by U.S. News & World Report, highlights counties that feature, among other child-friendly data, fewer infant deaths, and fewer low-birth-weight babies. How does our area stack up? Find out here.

America's 50 Healthiest Counties for Kids

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A new set of rankings by U.S. News & World Report  highlights the most child-friendly counties in the United States by comparing data on infant deaths, low-birth-weight babies, deaths from injuries, teen births and children in poverty. 

America's 50 Healthiest Counties for Kids represents the first national, county-level assessment of how health and environmental factors affect the well-being of children younger than 18, according to experts who analyzed the report. It was released as part of U.S. News Best Children's Hospitals 2013-2014 in which the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia ranked first in the best children's hospital honor roll category for high scores in a number of specialities.

The numbers show even the highest-ranking counties grapple with such challenges as large numbers of children in poverty and high teen birth rates. Top-ranked Marin County, a northern suburb of San Francisco, struggles with rates of teen births and children in poverty almost twice as high as 5th-ranked metro Milwaukee's Ozaukee County. About 1,200 of the 3,143 counties in the U.S. were evaluated for the rankings.

How did our area stack up? Montgomery County, Pa. came in 35th. It scored 83.4 on a 100 point scale. It has a teen birth rate of 14.9 per 1,000 births compared to the U.S. median of 44 per 1,000 births, and 7.2 percent of children in the county live in poverty compared to the U.S. median of 24 percent.

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Here are the top 10:

  1. Marin County, Calif.
  2. San Francisco County, Calif.
  3. Chittenden County, Vt.
  4. Norfolk County, Mass.
  5. Ozaukee County, Wis.
  6. Middlesex County, Mass.
  7. Boulder County, Colo.
  8. Douglas County, Colo.
  9. Montgomery County, Md. and San Mateo County, Calif. (tied)

The rankings were developed with the help of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, which evaluates health data for the U.S. population as part of its County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program, a collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The percentage of uninsured children, air quality (except for Alaska and Hawaii), rates of adult smoking and adult obesity, and access to physicians and parks also were considered in the ranks. All of the variables were equally weighted.


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Anna Nguyen Healthy Kids blog Editor
About this blog
The Healthy Kids blog is your window into the latest news, research and advice around children's health. Learn more about our growing list of contributors here.

If you have questions about your child's health, ask them here.

Anna Nguyen Healthy Kids blog Editor
Sarah Levin Allen, Ph.D., CBIS Assistant Professor of Psychology at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Stephen Aronoff, M.D., M.B.A. Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Temple University Hospital
Peter Bidey, D.O. Medical Director of Family Medicine at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Christopher C. Chang, MD, PhD, MBA, FAAAAI, FACAAI Associate Professor of Medicine in division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology at UC Davis
Katherine K. Dahlsgaard, Ph.D. Lead Psychologist of The Anxiety Behaviors Clinic at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Gary A. Emmett, M.D., F.A.A.P Director of Hospital Pediatrics at TJU Hospital & Pediatrics Professor at Thomas Jefferson Univ.
Mario Cruz, M.D. Pediatrician, Associate Director of Pediatric Residency Program at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children
Magee DeFelice, M.D. Division Chief of Allergy and Immunology at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
Hazel Guinto-Ocampo, M.D. Chief of Pediatric Emergency Services at Nemours duPont Pediatrics/Bryn Mawr Hospital
Rima Himelstein, M.D. Adolescent Medicine Specialist at Crozer-Keystone Health System
Jessica Kendorski, PhD, NCSP, BCBA-D Associate Professor in School Psychology/Applied Behavior Analysis at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Anita Kulick President & CEO, Educating Communities for Parenting
Janet Rosenzweig, MS, PhD, MPA VP for Programs & Research for Prevent Child Abuse America
Beth Wallace Smith, R.D. Registered Dietitian at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Jeanette Trella, Pharm.D Managing Director at The Poison Control Center at CHOP
W. Douglas Tynan, Ph.D., ABPP Director of Integrated Health Care for American Psychological Association
Flaura Koplin Winston, M.D., Ph.D. Scientific Director of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention
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