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Letcher County has this region’s healthiest people

For the third year in a row, Letcher County continues to have the healthiest population among the coal-producing counties of southeastern Kentucky in 2015.

The “2015 County Health Rankings for Kentucky” are compiled by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

For the fourth year in a row, Oldham County, near Louisville, ranked highest in Kentucky for health outcomes. Letcher County ranked 100th among Kentucky’s 120 counties for health outcomes, far behind Oldham County but well ahead of the other southeastern Kentucky counties.

The rankings fall into two categories: factors and outcomes. Health factors include the health behaviors (with factors such as adult smoking), clinical care (with factors such as the ratio of population to primary-care physicians), social and economic factors (such as the percentage of children under 18 in poverty) and physical environment (with factors such as the percentage of workforce that drives alone to work). Oldham County was followed by Boone, Woodford, Scott and Anderson counties. Clay County ranked last, preceded by Martin, Leslie, Wolfe and Knott. Generally, health factors and outcomes reflect income and education levels.

Health outcomes include premature death, poor or fair health, poor physical health days, poor mental health days and low birthweight. Boone County ranked first, followed by Oldham, Shelby, Fayette and Jessamine. Owsley County ranked last, preceded by Floyd, Leslie, Clay and Perry.

Neighboring Pike County ranked 113th in health outcomes, while neighbors Knott and Harlan counties ranked 114th and 109th, respectively.

Some counties, such as Morgan and Wayne, overcame their poor health factors to have better-thanaverage outcomes.

To see the full, specific list of county rankings, visit the website www.countyhealthrankings.org.

Source: Kentucky Health News, an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky

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