Utah County 5th healthiest county in Utah

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Utah County with its healthy lifestyle and young population has been ranked the fifth healthiest county in state. Photo/clip art com.

Utah County with its healthy lifestyle and young population has been ranked the fifth healthiest county in state. (Photo by clipart.com)

When it comes to healthy behaviors, you can’t beat Utah County.

Most residents do not smoke. The obesity rate is relatively low. Most people have ready access to exercise and do so at least moderately. Excessive drinking is rare, and alcohol-impaired driving deaths are low.

In fact, Utah County has been ranked No. 1 in the state of Utah in health behaviors. An organization named the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation does the rankings yearly.

Health behaviors was just one of the areas examined, however. Other areas included length of life, quality of life, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment.

Overall, Utah County was ranked No. 5 in the state in health outcomes, which means, according to study, Utah County is fifth healthiest county in the state of Utah.

Utah, by the way, is perennially ranked in a number of studies as one of the healthiest states in America.

Utah County ranked in the top seven in all areas examined except one: physical environment. When it comes to things like air pollution, drinking water quality, driving to work alone and housing problems, Utah County came in 18th.

Results of the study were not surprising to county health officials.

“We have always scored well as a county on these kinds of surveys,” Lance Madigan of the Utah County Health Department said. “A number of things contribute to our ratings: a younger population, a population that doesn’t embrace vice, our active lifestyles and special economic factors. We’re not exactly wealthy, but we don’t have the economic challenges of some other areas.”

Madigan added that we still have room for improvement. For example, we can lessen the problems with air pollution.

“We have some geographical pockets that cause air pollution to settle, and there’s not a lot we can do about that. But we don’t car pool nearly enough. We like our cars, but more cars on the road do add to pollution of the air.”

Even so, Madigan said he was pleased with report and credited a lot of other agencies and partners with keeping Utah County a healthy place to live. “We should all be proud of this accomplishment,” he said.

The overall healthiest county in Utah was Morgan. Cache was second, Wasatch was third, and Summit was fourth. Duchesne and Carbon counties came out at the bottom of the Utah health rankings.

For more information on the survey, check online at rwjf.org.

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Ron Bennett is a recently retired university journalism professor at Brigham Young University-Idaho, where he taught journalistic writing, editing and mass media classes. He received the Distinguished Faculty award at BYU-I in 2012, and he was honored by the College Media Advisers Association in 2002 with the Distinguished Newspaper Adviser's Award. Prior to entering education, he was a professional journalist at several newspapers, including the Gazette-Journal in Reno, Nevada.

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