OLYMPIA – According to nationwide County Health Rankings released on Monday, Thurston County ranks 5th healthiest among Washington State counties. Five years ago, Thurston County ranked 9th healthiest in the state, and just last year, the County was 6th healthiest.
The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation produce the County Health Rankings annually. The County Health Rankings are an easy-to-use snapshot that compares counties within states, and show that where you live influences how well and how long you live.
"We are very proud that Thurston County moved up in the rankings again this year and is one of the top five healthiest places to live, work, and play in Washington State," said Board of Health Chair, John Hutchings. "Focusing on local priorities that address social determinants of health, and building strong partnerships with other jurisdictions and community organizations, like Thurston Thrives, makes a difference through strategic and meaningful improvements."
Thurston County scores better than the state of Washington in several areas covered by the County Health Rankings including: graduating from high school, lower rates of violent crime, and having health insurance coverage.
However, with Thurston County ranked 10th in health behaviors and 30th for measures that describe the physical environment, there is a continued need to focus on reducing substance use, supporting physical activity, improving nutrition, and living in a healthy environment. The physical environment includes measures ranging from air quality to housing. Thurston County and Thurston Thrives are very active in working towards improvements in these areas.
"I'm thrilled that our health rankings have improved this year, and that Thurston County citizens are living longer, healthier lives," said Schelli Slaughter, Department Director of Thurston County Public Health and Social Services. "Moving forward, we want to continue reducing health barriers to wellness and care which can impact health for generations. We are dedicated to working together to make Thurston County a place where everyone can achieve their highest level of health and well-being."
For more information on Thurston Thrives, visit www.ThurstonThrives.org. To learn more about the County Health Rankings, visit www.countyhealthrankings.org.