Olympia-The annual County Health Rankings report released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute ranks Thurston County the seventh healthiest of Washington's 39 counties. Thurston County moved into the top ten in 2013, having been Washington's 14th healthiest county in 2012. -30-
The County Health Rankings grade counties across the country on how healthy people are today, and measures factors that influence how healthy communities will be in the future. They address issues that affect quality of life and how long people live, including medical care, as well as those outside of the doctor's office. The project collects data on critical aspects of a community such as education rates, income levels, housing, and access to healthy foods. It helps communities recognize what impacts health, and make changes that support residents living longer, healthier lives.
"Our continued improvement in these rankings shows that the work we're doing to improve the health of people in Thurston County is making a difference," said Thurston County Board of Health Chair and County Commissioner Bud Blake. "Our efforts through community partnerships like Thurston Thrives are paying off. These rankings also show us areas where improvements are possible such as quality housing and neighborhoods, reducing substance abuse among youths, and improving access to health care."
Thurston Thrives is a partnership of local governments, schools, health care, businesses, and local community organizations, with a mission to improve community health. Formed in 2013, members developed a set of strategies to address and improve aspects of community health. Action teams developed strategies in eleven different areas. Many of the Thurston Thrives' community health goals address key indicators measured each year by the County Health Rankings.
The Thurston County Commissioners have proclaimed April 2016 Public Health Month, as part of a national annual celebration that recognizes the importance of public health services and programs. "This year's Public Health Month theme "The Healthiest Generation by 2030' reflects the type of work being done through Thurston Thrives. By engaging people around the goal of prevention, we can continue to make this a better place to live, and improve the health of our community," said Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Director Tom Stuebner.
Visit www.ThurstonThrives.org for more information about Thurston Thrives.
Learn more about the County Health Rankings and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute at www.countyhealthrankings.org.