ELKHART — For the first time since the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation began tracking the health of citizens around the country, Elkhart County has landed among the top 15 healthiest counties in Indiana.
Out of the state’s 92 counties, Elkhart County was named the 14th healthiest county in this year’s County Health Rankings, up five spots from the previous two years and six spots since 2010.
Metrics used to rank the overall health of counties nationwide are comprehensive. Factors taken into consideration include smoking and obesity rates for adults, health insurance, unemployment, education and poverty, among others.
The 2013 study marks the fourth year for the annual report put together by the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropic organization that brings attention to health and health care issues around the country.
Hamilton County snagged the top spot in the ranking for Indiana followed by Hendricks and Boone counties. The bottom three rankings were given to Scott, Crawford and Fayette counties.
“Statewide, we know that we have major improvements to make in infant mortality, childhood immunizations, obesity and smoking,” Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. William VanNess said in a news release. “The annual county health rankings provide us with an additional data set to show exactly where Indiana communities are struggling as well as providing resources to assist them with their improvement plans.”