Health survey has good news, bad news for county

Jackson County ranked 15th among Oregon's 33 counties in a 2012 County Health Rankings report that measured health levels across the nation.

Published by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the survey of more than 3,000 counties and the District of Columbia shows how healthy their residents are and how long they live.

Jackson County rated similarly or favorably with the rest of the state in most categories, but came in well below the 90th percentile national benchmark set by the publishers as a goal.

The county showed 23 percent of adults are considered obese, below both the state and national marks. County residents were rated as being more active than the state average, with only a 15 percent inactivity rate.

Jackson County had a higher rate of adult smoking — 20 percent vs. 18 percent for the state — and a higher rate of uninsured residents, 21 percent vs. 18 percent for the state. The county had almost double the rate of the state in the category of "limited access to healthy foods," 12 percent to 5 percent.

The report classified 45 percent of Jackson County's restaurants as fast food restaurants, compared with 43 percent for the state as a whole and 23 percent for the national targeted benchmark.

Josephine County ranked 29th out of the 33 Oregon counties included in the report. The three healthiest counties, in order, were Benton, Washington and Hood River. Jefferson County ranked 33rd, just ahead of Douglas and Klamath counties. Three counties — Gilliam, Sherman and Wheeler — did not have enough data to be ranked.

The rankings look at a variety of measures that affect health, such as the rate of people dying before age 75, high school graduation rates, access to more healthful foods, air pollution levels, income, and rates of smoking, obesity and teen births. The rankings are based on the latest data publicly available for each county.

Factors taken into account in the rankings fall into four general areas: health behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment. This year's rankings included several new measures, such as how many fast food restaurants are in a county and levels of physical inactivity among residents. Graphs illustrating premature death trends over 10 years are new, as well.

To review the full report, see

Share This Story