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DOH Addresses County Health Rankings

By Florida Department of Health, Office of Communications

March 25, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2015

Contact: Communications Office
(850) 245-4111

Florida Department of Health Addresses County Health Rankings

TALLAHASSEE—Today, the Florida Department of Health acknowledged the release of the sixth annual County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. A collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI), the rankings are a snapshot of the health of counties across the country. Data used to determine the rankings include information related to physical environments, social and economic factors, health behaviors and clinical care. The rankings are compiled using county-level measures from a variety of national and state data sources, much of which is available from the department at www.floridacharts.com.

"Health in our communities depends on collaboration at all levels of government, business, schools, health care, faith-based groups and civic organizations," said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John H. Armstrong. "Florida is fortunate to have a Department of Health that is inclusive of all 67 local health departments who strive through partnerships to improve health for Florida's families across our counties."

"Making Florida the healthiest state in the nation is an achievable goal," said Senate Health Policy Committee Chair Aaron Bean. "This data can provide an opportunity to identify strengths and areas for development as we continue to integrate our public health system in Florida."

"Health data can highlight our state's successes and illuminate opportunities for improvement," said House Health Quality Chair Cary Pigman, M.D. "The department has done an excellent job in using this data as a chance to further develop plans to improve the health of all Floridians and to encourage collaboration between counties."

"It's important for the state as a whole to understand the need for constant assessment of our local communities," said Florida Association of Counties President Grover C. Robinson, IV. "The use of health data can facilitate the development of healthier counties in Florida and ensure that our focus on health is both accurate and efficient."

Much of the health data used by the rankings to compile its snapshots is also used by the department to identify priority issues, develop and implement strategies for action, and establish accountability to ensure measurable health improvement, which are outlined in the form of a population-based community health improvement plan (CHIP.) Florida's counties have always been national leaders in health improvement planning, and in 2013, Florida became one of the first states to have a CHIP in each of the 67 counties. Each CHIP is developed through a community-led process and defines a vision for the health of the community. CHIPs provide guidance for public health system partners and stakeholders to improve the health of each community across Florida. As new health data becomes available, the CHIPs are updated accordingly.

Earlier this month the department announced the update of its County-Level Healthiest Weight Snapshots. Florida is one of the few states in the country with a methodology in place to collect and report county level data in this format. This 2015 update to the tool includes the latest demographic and behavioral measures relating to the community's healthy weight status as well as data examining respondents' proximity to food sources and their choice of commute to work. To learn more about the County-Level Healthiest Weight Snapshots from the Florida Community Health Assessment Resource Tool Set (Florida CHARTS), please visit www.healthiestweightfl.com/Resources.

With only 35 percent of Floridians at a healthy weight, the department launched Healthiest Weight Florida in 2013. Healthiest Weight Florida is a public-private collaboration bringing together state agencies, not-for-profit organizations, businesses and entire communities to help Florida's children and adults make informed choices about healthy eating and active living. The initiative has engaged with over 550 public and private organizations across the state, and Florida has moved from 20th to 15th healthiest state in the nation. More information is available at www.healthiestweightflorida.com.

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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.floridahealth.gov.

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