Jefferson County improves health ranking - WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Jefferson County improves health ranking by national organization

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Jefferson County has improved its health ratings from a national organization.

The announcement of the 2013 County Health Rankings report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation brings positive news for the county, where efforts of the Health Action Partnership have been working for several years to make this a healthier place to live, learn, work and play. The 2013 County Health Rankings, published now for the fourth year, rely on a robust set of data and analysis that allows counties to see what is making residents sick or healthy, and how they compare to other counties in the same state.

The County Health Rankings show that how long and how well people live depends on multiple factors beyond just their access to medical care. It examines 25 factors that influence health, including rates of childhood poverty, smoking rates, obesity levels, teen birth rates, access to physicians and dentists, rates of high school graduation and college attendance, access to healthy foods, levels of physical inactivity, and percentages of children living in single-parent households. The full report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute is available online at

"From organizing Walking School Buses and Safe Routes to School (programs which encourage students to be more active), to promoting policy changes such as tobacco ordinances in many local cities, the organizations in the Health Action Partnership have been successful in a variety of efforts to make Jefferson County a healthier place to live, work, learn and play," said Dr. Mark Wilson, Jefferson County Health Officer and chair of the HAP Leadership Team. "The progress reported by RWJ Foundation is encouraging, and helps us to know that we are moving in the right direction. But it is clear that we need to make more progress, which is why the Health Action Partnership has "Priority Groups" continuing our efforts to create and sustain livable communities, tobacco-free living, healthy food choices and healthy children and youth."

Looking more closely at Jefferson County rankings, out of 67 Alabama counties, the following areas moved in a positive direction:

  • Overall county ranking from 29 to 27
  • Mortality from 37 to 35
  • Health factors from 16 to 10
  • Health behaviors from 18 to 16
  • Social and Economic factors from 25 to 24
  • Physical environment from 67th to 45th (includes air quality, regulated by Jefferson Co. Dept. of Health's Air Division)
  • Limited access to healthy foods from 15% to 11%

More about HAP: The Jefferson County Health Action Partnership is a coalition of more than 100 organizations and agencies working together to make Jefferson County, Alabama, a healthier place to live, learn, work and play. The HAP Leadership Team includes Mark Wilson, chair; Drew Langloh, Vice Chair, and Nan Baldwin, Charles Ball, Diane Beeson, William Bell, Melanie Bridgeforth, Gayle Cunningham, Melodie Echols, Mona Fouad, Mim Gaines, Brian Huff, Wendy Jackson, Lisa Jones, Koko Mackin, Max Michael, Kate Nielsen, Fred Primm, Isabel Rubio and Alex Steinmiller. For more information, go to

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