March 27, 2013
Your county’s health status is now a matter of public record. A national study by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ranks health by county, and the scores are in. For the fourth consecutive year, the healthiest county in New Jersey is Hunterdon County, followed by Morris, Somerset, Bergen and Middlesex counties. Cumberland was New Jersey’s unhealthiest county, followed by Salem, Essex and Camden counties.
The study looks at factors that, if improved, can lead to significantly healthier communities. For example, the study credits a county’s “built environment” with the greatest influence on the health of its population. Built environment refers to the places where people eat, shop, live and work every day. One measure of built environment is “fast food density” – a measure of the amount of fast food restaurants per capita in a specific area. According to the study, fast food restaurants are the second highest energy provider (access point for food) after grocery stores in counties with lower health ratings. Similarly, lack of access to recreational space in lower-ranking counties correlates with heart disease and obesity – both leading causes of death in the U.S. Built environment is just one example of health determinants that exist outside of the doctor’s office and can be improved with community efforts.
This link between community health and individual health provides evidence for a new concept of healthcare – one that is rooted in citizen participation and community health initiatives. The study’s County Health Rankings and Roadmap Team encourages community members to take action through cooperation, assessment of needs, and support for effective policies and programs.
Are you ready to redefine healthcare in New Jersey? Click here to access your fund in DonorCentral. And scroll down for those partners and programs with which CFNJ works to promote better health.
NJ AIDS Partnership
Operation Medicine Cabinet
ShopRite Partners in Caring is a year-round, hunger fighting initiative built in the wake of the recession and designed to support food banks and resources for those in need. ShopRite supports a number of local food banks in New Jersey and throughout the northeast and you can, too. Click here to learn more or call us at 973-267-5533 to discuss ways to improve access to food in your community.