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McHenry ranked as one of healthiest counties in Illinois

Published: Friday, March 22, 2013 12:14 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, March 22, 2013 12:18 p.m. CDT

McHenry is the 17th healthiest county in Illinois, according to a report that used a variety of health factors to evaluate counties across the United States.

The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, conducted by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, gave McHenry County high marks in its “health behaviors” and “social & economic factors” categories, citing low levels of premature death, low levels of children in poverty, and a high percentage of high school graduates compared to the other 101 counties in Illinois.

While McHenry County ranks as one of Illinois' healthiest counties, it fell out of the top five for the first time in the four years the rankings have been published. It previously had ranked in fourth or fifth place.

The study found that, compared to the state average, McHenry County had higher rates of smoking and higher rates of people who could not see a doctor due to cost. And 46 percent of the restaurants in McHenry County are fast food establishments, the report found.

But Patrick McNulty, health administrator for the McHenry County Department of Health, said residents should feel “pretty good” about their county's ranking.

“We've maintained our status at the upper end of the rankings compared to other counties in the state,” he said.

The report examined the overall healthiness of counties by looking at more than just smoking and obesity rates. Access to recreational facilities, violent crime rates, and inadequate social support are among the factors in ranking the counties.

“This helps people think about county health not just in terms of disease or whether you go see a doctor,” said Elissa Bassler, CEO of the Illinois Public Health Institute. “It looks at what else contributes to health.”

Lake County ranked 16th, Kane County ranked 12th, and DuPage County ranked sixth, according to the report. Cook County ranked 78th.

The county health rankings can be found at countyhealthrankings.org

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