Cache County is the second healthiest in the state, according to a new report released Wednesday.
The County Health Rankings — a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute — allows Americans around the country to see how healthy their respective counties are and what factors affect their health.
“We know that Utah is always near the top when it comes to quality of life and longevity of life,” said Lloyd Berentzen, health officer for the Bear River Health Department. “Now we know that Cache County ranks No. 2 in mortality data for longevity of life or life expectancy when compared to all other counties in the state of Utah. Cache Valley also ranks third highest for morbidity or quality of life.”
He added, “This is only the fourth year this report has been issued, and our ranking by individual category either remained the same as last year or improved. This is good news for Cache County residents.”
Morgan County was ranked the highest in Utah, followed by Cache, Utah, Wasatch, Summit and Davis. Daggett and Rich counties were not ranked in the study.
Of the sub-categories, Cache ranked second in mortality, health behaviors, and social and economic factors; third in morbidity and clinical care; and 10th in physical environment.
The latter category includes drinking water safety, access to recreational facilities, limited access to healthy foods, fast-food restaurants and daily fine particulate matter, which relates to air quality.
Over the past winter, Logan had some of the worst air quality in the country on several days, and sometimes it was the worst.
“If you look at everything else as it balances out, it’s a pretty good place to live,” Berentzen said. “But does that mean that we shouldn’t pay attention to air quality issues? Absolutely not. ... In fact, it’s an opportunity to maybe make us No. 1. (Given) the fact that we do so well in so many other areas, why not attack this problem?”
The rankings are based on several different factors such as quality of health care, individual behavior, education and jobs, and the environment. The report utilizes morbidity and mortality data gathered through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and individual county vital records information.
While the rankings show that some places are healthier than others, they also represent a call to action for people living in any county to make their communities healthier places to live, according to the health department.
“Every county contributes to the overall well-being of our state,” Berentzen said. “We as a local public health department are committed to continually strive to improve the health of the communities we serve.”