Kane County now ranks as the 12th-healthiest among Illinois 102 counties, down from eighth last year.
Although Kane County slipped in the rankings, Kane County Health Department spokesman Tom Schlueter said the county actually improved on 12 of 29 factors measured. He said seven measures showed a decline and eight were identical to last year.
"There is always room for improvement," Schlueter said. "This is just a shapshot of information that they gathered for this year's rankings. Smaller counties improved more than we did."
The annual rankings by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute are available at www.countyhealthrankings.org. The information was made available on Wednesday.
Other nearby counties also slipped in the rankings. Kendall County dropped to seventh-healthiest county after being ranked number one last year, and DuPage County is the sixth-healthiest county this year after being ranked number three last year.
Researchers use five measures to assess overall health or health outcomes by county. These include the rate of people dying before age 75, the percentage of people who report being in fair or poor health, the numbers of days people report being in poor physical or poor mental health and the rate of low-birthweight infants.
The health factors consider rates of adult smoking, obesity and excessive drinking, teenage births, the number of uninsured people under age 65, availability of primary care physicians, preventable hospital stays, education level, children in poverty, community safety, limited access to healthy foods and air pollution levels.
As part of this year's rankings, Kane County's unemployment rate dropped to 9.9 percent, down from 10.3 percent last year. In addition, the teen birth rate dropped to 40 per 1,000 female population, ages 15-19, compared to 44 last year.
In addition, the number of children in poverty in Kane County rose to 19 percent, up from 16 percent last year and this year's high school graduation rate was 82 percent, down from 87 percent last year.
In Kane County's 2012-2016 Community Health Improvement Plan, the six top threats to community health in Kane County are obesity, chronic disease, communicable disease, poor social and emotional wellness, infant mortality and childhood lead poisoning.