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New Rankings Shed Light on Where Kansas Counties Could Improve Health


Johnson County ranks healthiest in Kansas and Wyandotte County is the least healthy county in the state, according to the seventh annual County Health Rankings, released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI). The Rankings are available at

KHI has developed individualized data sheets for each Kansas county available to download on the right side bar. The Rankings are an easy-to-use snapshot comparing the health of nearly every county in the nation. The local-level data allows each state to see how its counties compare on more than 30 factors that influence health including education, housing, jobs, smoking, access to healthy food, and more. According to the 2016 Rankings, the five healthiest counties in Kansas, starting with most healthy, are Johnson County, followed by Thomas County, Logan County, Pottawatomie County, and Doniphan County. The five counties in the poorest health, starting with least healthy, are Wyandotte County, Labette County, Decatur County, Cherokee County, and Wilson County.

This year, the Rankings took a closer look at the differences in health between urban, rural, suburban, and smaller metro counties and found that: Rural counties not only have higher rates of premature death, but also nearly 1 in 5 rural counties saw rises in premature death rates over the past decade, while most urban counties have experienced consistent improvement. Rural counties have higher rates of smoking, obesity, child poverty, teen births, and higher numbers of uninsured adults than their urban counterparts. Large urban counties have lower smoking and obesity rates, fewer injury deaths, and more residents who attended some college. Large suburban counties have the lowest rates of childhood poverty and teen births. The 2016 Rankings Key Findings Report highlights some new measures including residential segregation among blacks and whites, drug overdose deaths, and insufficient sleep and how they contribute to health. Learn more about those findings at

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