Boone County one of the healthiest

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COLUMBIA - A national study recognizes Boone County as the 9th healthiest county in Missouri.

The County Health Ranking organization formulates a county's health ranking using more than 30 factors. It uses this formula to compare every county within each state in the United States.

The report looks at "health outcomes," such as length of life and quality of life. In that area, Boone County ranks 9th out of 115 counties. This is a measure of how healthy a county currently is.

The report also examines how healthy a county is likely to be in the future. These "health factors" include the percentage of adult smokers, how many adults are obese and/or sedintary.

"What County Health Rankings tries to do is find data that can be comparable enough for every county across the board." said Columbia/Boone County Public Health spokesman Eric Stann.

Local wellness expert Arminta Phelps says the statistics don't look good for national health.

"If we can change that here in mid-Missouri, then that's where we have to start," she said. "Just like with anything else, you have to start with the individual and the self and the smallness, and then it will grow."

Phelps said a healthy community falls in the hands of many people.

"To learn about these different ways to be healthier and then have a community of accountability is substantially important." she said. 

Boone County is ranked first in clinical care, which is based on the percentage of people uninsured, ratio of primary care physicians to population, among other categories.

But, the county is ranked 101st out of 115 counties in physical environment. Factors for that include air pollution, drinking water violations and severe housing problems. Stann said the health department and the housing authority are already actively working to improve in those areas.

"We do recognized that, yes, that's one of the areas that we were lower in," Stann said. 

The entire report and rankings for every county in every state can be found at CountyHealthRankings.org.

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