Johnson County maintains ranking as healthiest county in Kansas

Access to exercise opportunities was among the factors that put Johnson County in the top spot in the rankings from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Public Health Initiative.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute’s 2018 rankings of health measures across every county in the country puts Johnson County at the top of Kansas.

The ninth annual installment of the group’s County Health Rankings & Roadmaps finds that Johnson County remains the top county in Kansas for both health outcomes — how long people live, and how healthy they feel when they are alive — and health factors — medical services available, environmental factors, and common behaviors that promote healthy living.

Access to quality medical care, exercise opportunities and fresh food all played a part in keeping Johnson County at the top of the rankings. However, the report identifies a handful of areas where Johnson County could focus community health efforts for improvement:

  • Reducing the rate of obesity and smoking.
  • Reducing the amount of heavy drinking done by adults.
  • Reducing the number of workers who commute in their cars alone and improving air pollution.
  • Increasing the number of membership associations to increase social interactions among people.

“Johnson County is fortunate to have many of the key factors that contribute to a long and healthy life,” says Lougene Marsh, director of the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment. “However, this report is also a call to action for leaders and community members to note those areas where we can make improvements so everyone in Johnson County has a fair and just chance to lead the healthiest life possible”

Northeast Kansas had the highest concentration of counties in the upper quartile of both health outcomes and health factors. Southeast Kansas had the highest concentration of counties in the bottom quartile for both categories. Wyandotte County, however, was something of an outlier in the northeast part of the state, ranking near the bottom of both outcomes and factors.