Report ranks Shelby County as healthiest county in Alabama, while Jefferson County has some work to do

Photo from the Jefferson County Department of Health via their public Facebook page

According to the recently released 2018 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps report for Alabama, Shelby County has been ranked 1st in the state of Alabama for health outcomes and factors. Respectively, Jefferson County, Alabama’s largest county placed 22nd in health outcome and 7th in the health factors categories.

The comprehensive annual County Health Ranking report is a collaboration between the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

The report measures vital health outcomes and factors, including length of life, quality of life, premature deaths, low birthweight, obesity, smoking, unemployment, access to healthy foods, the quality of air and water, high school graduation rates, income inequality, and teen births in nearly every county in America. The annual Rankings provide a revealing snapshot of how health is influenced by where Alabamians reside.

Screenshot from the 2018 County Health Rankings

Along with the 2018 report, the website contains previous rankings dating back to 2011 to help mark progress when it pertains to health outcomes and factors. For example, Shelby County has ranked 1st every year since 2011 in each category. Meanwhile, Jefferson County has improved its state ranking over the past 7 years, moving up in the health outcomes category from 29th in 2011 to 22nd in 2018. This year, the county improved its health factors moving up to 7th in 2018 from a low of 16th in 2011.

Inequality

This year’s 2018 report, examined health gaps that persist not only by place, but also by race and ethnicity. Previous reports have also shown gaps between rural, suburban and urban communities.

Bottomline, the goals of the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program are to:

– Build awareness of the multiple factors that influence health;
– Provide a reliable, sustainable source of local data and evidence to communities to help them identify opportunities to improve their health;
– Engage and activate local leaders from many sectors in creating sustainable community change, and;
– Connect & empower community leaders working to improve health.

Check out this resourceful report. See what kind of health-work  needs to be done in your community, may it be Shelby or Jefferson counties or our the remaining 65 counties in Alabama.

  • Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.