For the second year in a row, Whatcom County is the fifth healthiest county in Washington, according to recent rankings compiled by the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, a national research collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
Whatcom is healthier than 90 percent of all counties in the U.S. in several areas, including low rates of premature death, low birth-weight babies, adult obesity, physical inactivity, teenage-parent birth rate, and preventable hospital stays, according to the rankings.
But the county lags behind national health benchmarks in areas such as poor physical and mental health days, excessive drinking, uninsured residents, unemployment, children in poverty and limited access to healthy foods.
The County Health Rankings, which have been compiled each year for the past four years, attempt to help local communities identify areas for improvement efforts by tracking factors against local benchmarks.
More information is online at www.countyhealthrankings.org.