Hood River is healthy

County ranked ‘third healthiest in Oregon’

In addition to the many honors Hood River has received through national and regional magazines touting the county as a desirable place to live and play, Hood River can now add a new feather to its already beloved cap.

Hood River County ranks third out of 33 researched counties in Oregon for overall health of its residents, according to a new national report.

Benton County for the third year in a row has come in first, according to County Health Rankings, a comprehensive report released in early April that ranks each county in every state. Washington County came in second this year — taking the spot held by Hood River last year.

Across a multitude of specific indicators, Hood River County was consistently in the top counties, earning rankings between second and fifth. The cumulative ratings placed us third overall.

Hood River ranked as the number two county in Oregon in the healthy physical environment category — which includes access to good food and recreational facilities, and low air pollution rates.

Our increased, higher-than-average number of fast food restaurants, however, brought down the “healthy environment” rank one notch from last year.

Hood River’s most impressive statistics: 10 percent of adults smoking versus Oregon’s average of 18 percent; 320:1 primary care physicians versus Oregon’s 739:1 average and access to recreational facilities at double the state rate.

The 2012 report by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the third annual nationwide “health checkup” ranking.

Using a standard way to measure how healthy people are and how long they live, this report is the most comprehensive of its kind to rank the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

Specific health factor data collected in the study included: access to healthy foods, recreation access, air pollution levels, rates of adult smoking, adult obesity, adult excessive drinking, and births to teenagers; the number of uninsured adults, availability of primary care providers, and preventable hospital stays; high school graduation rates, adults who have attended college, children living in poverty; and community safety.

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