Lately we’ve been confronted by a lot of negative rankings about our state. First, there was the poll claiming that New Jersey is viewed more negatively than any other state but California. Then there is the sobering news that New Jersey has the highest number of toxic sites in the nation. (On the plus side, at least we do really well when it comes to education.)
Now comes more bad news—and this time, it’s about Essex County. In a national study released yesterday, our county was ranked the third least healthy in the state, scoring higher than only Salem and Cumberland counties.
The study, conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, measured mortality, morbidity, health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment within each county.
According to the study’s findings, 19 percent of Essex County residents are in poor or fair health, 26 percent are obese, and 10.6 percent are born with a low birthweight. The county also has high rates of physical inactivity and sexually transmitted disease. Adding to the burden is an 11 percent poverty rate, compared to 9.5 in the rest of the state.
At the top of the county rankings is Hunterdon, where only 9 percent of residents are considered in poor or fair health, followed by Somerset, Morris, Bergen and Sussex counties.
Photo by randomplaces via flickr