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Report: Kane among top 10 healthiest Illinois counties

Published: Thursday, March 27, 2014 5:30 a.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2014 7:46 a.m. CST
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(Sandy Bressner – sbressner@shawmedia.com)
Kathy Freedlund teaches a shape and tone class Tuesday morning at the Batavia Park District.

Kane County isn’t the healthiest county in Illinois, but it ranks among the top 10.

To the county’s health department executive director, that’s pretty good.

“I think it’s awesome,” Barb Jeffers said. “This goes to show you the community that we live in and the wealth of factors that measure up to a good community.”

Of 102 Illinois counties, Kane County ranked ninth in the fifth annual County Health Rankings, which were released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Other counties in the top 10 included Kendall (No. 2), DuPage (No. 3) and DeKalb (No. 10).

Kane previously ranked 12th in 2013, eighth in 2012, ninth in 2011 and 11th in 2010.

However, past rankings shouldn’t be used to judge Kane’s progress since the factors on which the rankings are based change, Jeffers said.

This year’s new measures included housing, transportation and access to mental health providers.

Such measures fell under the broader categories of lifespan, quality of life, health behaviors, clinical care, physical environment and social and economic factors.

“The County Health Rankings show us how health is influenced by our everyday surroundings – where we live, learn, work and play,” County Health Rankings Director Bridget Catlin said in a written statement.

“The County Health Rankings often provide the spark for businesses, community planners, policymakers, public health, parents and others to work together for better health.”

Jeffers said the Kane County Health Department collaborates with its county and community partners about various health-related issues, such as those highlighted in the rankings report.

“What can we do as a community to address these problems?” she asked.

Of the judged categories, Kane County ranked its best – fifth – in health behaviors, which included adult smoking, adult obesity, physical inactivity, access to exercise opportunities, excessive drinking, sexually transmitted infections and teen births.

At 89th place, Kane’s lowest ranked category was for physical environment, which considered air pollution, driving alone to work and having a commute longer than 30 minutes, among other factors.

Jeffers said she plans to make a presentation about Kane County’s health ranking at the next Public Health Committee meeting.

For a complete list of the rankings, visit www.countyhealthrankings.org.

Top 10 healthiest Illinois counties

1. Woodford

2. Kendall

3. DuPage

4. Schuyler

5. Jo Daviess

6. Pike

7. Douglas

8. Brown

9. Kane

10. DeKalb

Source: County Health Rankings

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