County Health Rankings released

Just how healthy are you, and the community you live in? We’re getting a better idea of where north Iowa stacks up as an annual list is released that shows how various counties in the u-s measure up when it comes to their health.

And this year, 3 of the top 5 healthiest counties in the state are in our area.

Hard work has paid off for Mitchell County as new data ranks it the 5th healthiest county the state.

A group of community volunteers has been working to improve the well-being of the county for years.

Laura Wynohrad is one of those people. She’s been working to make sure the health initiative is county-wide and doesn’t just focus on Osage.

“In fact one of the reasons we backed out of the Blue Zones Project to begin with was because we wanted it to be county-wide,” she says.

Mitchell County scored well in many categories including quality of life and physical fitness.

“It just seems like people want to be more healthy here, encourage each other.”

Beth Blumberg is the director of the Cedar River Complex, a fitness center that has been very successful since it opened its doors in 2010.

“We’re the 5th healthiest county not because we have the CRC, we have the CRC because we have the people and the city leadership and I don’t know just the community behind that,” adds Blumberg.

The CRC sees between 300-400 people each day. So we know Mitchell County residents are hitting the gym but the county also made improvements when it comes to clinical care.

Vicki Brandau with the county’s health center says that’s because they’re putting their focus on preventative care.

“Make sure that they’re getting in for their regular visits that they’re having mammogram done on a routine basis, colonoscopies done on a routine basis.”

Although the county has seen improvements in most of the categories, this group says they’re just going to keep momentum going.

“It’s one of our goals to make it to the 1st healthiest in the state.”

But some counties in the area aren’t seeing as many improvements in certain categories.

Last year, Cerro Gordo was ranked 30th and is now 98 out of Iowa’s 99 counties when it comes to physical environment

The category looks at factors like air pollution and drinking water violations.

“They were taking new measurements this year so with the combination of the ones where we had slipped a little bit in the rankings from last to this year, then by adding the new factors they measured we slipped significantly,” says Cara Vogelson with the Department of Public Health in Cerro Gordo County.

Although Cerro Gordo did improve their overall ranking county officials say they plan to meet to discuss how to improve their overall ranking including the physical environment which took the most significant dive.

Find out where your county stacks up:

http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/

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