2016 County Health Rankings released, good and bad news for Central Indiana

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Indianapolis, Ind. (March 16, 2016) - The 2016 County Health Rankings report was released Wednesday morning.

The results help counties understand what influences how healthy residents are and how long they will live.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute rank the health of nearly every county within each of the country's 50 states.

The annual County Health Rankings look at 30 factors including poverty, education, transportation, housing, violent crime, jobs, and access to medical care.

They also look at a variety of measures that affect the future health of communities, such as high school graduation rates, access to healthy foods, rates of smoking, obesity, and teen births.

Marion County ranked 83rd out of Indiana's 92 counties.

Despite the low ranking, the good news is the county's factors are improving.

"So while you ranked 83rd out of 92 counties in Indiana, in Marion County, your premature death rate, or the rate of people dying before 75, continues to improve year after year," said Julie Willems Van Dijk, Co-Director of the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps Program at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Hamilton County tops the list, followed by Hendricks, Boone, Johnson and Hancock Counties.

"In Hamilton County, people are smoking at a much lower rate than we see in Marion County. Similarly we see real differences in some of the social and economic factors in those counties. In Marion County, only 70 percent of students are graduating from high school and in Hamilton County, it’s 93 percent."

"Similarly, we see much higher rates of children living in poverty in Marion County. There are 31 percent of children living in poverty, where as in Hamilton County we only see six percent of children living in poverty."

The unhealthiest counties include Scott, Fayette, Stark, Grant and Sullivan Counties.

Willems Van Dijk says the study inspires people to use this data as an annual checkup of their community's health and come together and ask what can be done.

"It’s very clear, it can’t just be doctors and nurses. We need people from across the community coming together, such as business leaders, government leaders, philanthropic leaders, your non-profit leaders, and help people come together and think how they can work across all of these factors to improve health."

Click here to see how every Indiana county ranks on the list.