Elkhart County's health ranking dropped in 2014
Elkhart County isn't as healthy as it used to be.
The county is the 18th healthiest county in the state, a drop from 14th in 2013, according to a study released recently by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
The study measures length of life, quality of life, healthy behaviors such as obesity and smoking, quality of health care, income, education and crime data and environmental health issues to gauge the health rating.
While environmental issues such as exposure to contaminated drinking water and severe housing problems did not pose much of a risk to Elkhart County residents' health, factors such as smoking, a lack of health insurance and a high doctor-to-patient ratio contributed to the falling grade.
“This report is important because while it indicates that health outcomes are good in Elkhart County it also shows that there are multiple areas where we can improve,” Dr. Daniel Nafziger, Elkhart County's health officer, said of the study.
The healthiest county in Indiana is Hamilton County, located in central Indiana north of Indianapolis. The least healthiest county is Scott County, located in southeastern Indiana near Louisville, Ky.