(White Plains, NY) -- Westchester County residents are among the state’s healthiest, according to the results released today by the third annual county health ranking survey developed by The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, and funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
This survey compares how healthy people are from county to county by factoring in such things as how long they live, whether they practice healthy behaviors or they smoke, are obese or drink too much and whether they have access to health care and a healthy physical environment. Westchester ranked 7th out of 62 counties for health outcomes, or how healthy a county is, up from 10th last year, and 3rd for health factors, or what influences the health of the county, on par with 2011.
“This is good news for Westchester,’’ said County Executive Robert P. Astorino. “While we all bear personal responsibility for our own health, the county health department works hard to educate the public about preventive measures residents can take to become healthier and to ensure all residents have access to quality care.’’
Contributing to the county’s high rank was the top score in health behaviors.
“We ranked first statewide in health behaviors, and that’s especially encouraging,” said Sherlita Amler, MD, Commissioner of Health. “It means residents are not just getting the message that it’s important to quit smoking, maintain a healthy weight and exercise, but that they’re actually doing something about it.”
Amler said the health department is grateful for the collaborative efforts of community, faith and medical partners that contribute to the county’s placement in the top 10. The Westchester County Board of Health honored one such partner, the Westchester Cares Action Program, last week with the 2012 Distinguished Public Health Service Award for providing comprehensive health care and social support to some of the most costly Medicaid clients. WCAP has helped more than 250 residents find appropriate health services and learn how to manage their chronic illnesses, avoiding unneeded emergency room visits and saving money since its inception in 2009.
“There is always room to improve,’’ Amler said. “Talk with your doctor, and make small changes to better your health so you can reduce your risk for heart disease — the county’s number one killer — diabetes, stroke and other preventable diseases.”
For more information, visit the Westchester County Department of Health’s website.