Peoria County has been ranked in the bottom third for the health of its residents compared to all other counties in Illinois. The study was released by the University of Wisconsin in its annual County Health Rankings.
The data was distributed by the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It provides details on the influences on the health rankings and the reasoning for its rating. Peoria County ranks 76th out of 102 counties in Health Outcomes and Factors.
"The rankings report is a tool for communities to see what is affecting the health of their residents—specifically the influences that behavior, social and economic factors have on an individual's health," Monica Hendrickson, epidemiologist at the Peoria City/County Health Department, said.
The report also ranks counties nationwide in order to attempt to summarize the total health of the nation's citizens. Researchers analyze health behaviors, social and economic factors, clinical care and other factors to produce the ranking.
"The rankings report and the five-year trends reinforce the health priorities identified in the Community Health Improvement Plan: obesity, mental health, sexually transmitted infections, teen birth rates, poor birth outcomes, physical inactivity, substance abuse and cancer screenings,” Hendrickson said. “The strongest impact from the county rankings is its ability to engage the community in understanding that a Health in All Policies approach—from housing to education to crime to poverty—is the strongest indicator of a healthy community. This approach has recently gained momentum in Peoria County through the Partnership for a Healthy Community, Invest Health and the community dialogue by the City of Peoria."