North Kingstown and the rest of Washington (South) County are in the middle of the pack when it comes to health, according to a recent health study released last week.
The study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute ranks Washington County third out of the state’s five counties for a range of factors that influence health.
For most areas explored in the study, Washington County ranked third out of five – including premature death, number of poor health days, adult smoking. It ranked second in access/use of clinical care and social and economic factors due to higher high school graduation rates, fewer children in poverty, more social support and a lower violent crime rate.
Washington County came in dead last in the physical environment category. According to the study, 31 percent of Washington County residents are exposed to water that has violated an environmental limit in terms of water quality. For the rest of the state, that figure is only about five percent.
The County Health Rankings rank the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states, and allow counties to see how they compare to other counties within the state based on a range of factors that influence health.
“Given Rhode Island’s small size, we tend not to see major differences from county to county,” said Michael Fine, M.D., director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH). “Still, this report gives us a glimpse at how Rhode Islanders are faring at the community level, a matter of particular interest as we think about designing a healthcare system that addresses the unique needs of individual communities throughout the state.”
The Rankings are one part of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program. Communities take information from the County Health Rankings, and then use the County Health Roadmaps to build connections with local and national partners to improve health, according to the state Health Department.