Local Look At Annual Health Rankings


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Washington County ranks in the top ten percent of Kansas counties in annual Health Rankings released this week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

The overall tally shows Washington County ranked number nine among 102 counties reporting. Higher than average marks were noted for length and quality of life, finishing in the top 10%. Clinical care was a concern, with a rise in uninsured population, and a higher than average ratio of residents to dentists and primary care doctors. An additional concern was physical environment, showing an increase, and higher percentage of air pollution, owing to particulate matter. Good health behaviors and social economic factors were noted, with Washington County again in the top 10% in both categories.

Marshall County was just in the top third, ranked at number 34 of 102 counties. Quality of life, and health behaviors were lagging factors, with concern as well with air pollution, owing to particulate matter also a factor. Highest marks were noted with social and economic factors. Improvements were noted in percentage of uninsured, and preventable hospital stays.

Nemaha County finished number 25 in the rankings. The county ranked extremely high in social and economic factors, with a lower than average number of children in poverty, and children in single parent households. Clinical care opportunities abound, with significantly higher ratio of primary care physicians and dentists to the population than average.

Gage County numbers were not so impressive, finishing 49 of 78 counties reporting. Health behaviors ranked nearly the worst in the State of Nebraska, with obesity and physical inactivity noted. Alcohol impaired driving deaths were nearly double the state average. Those factors led to a ranking of number 76 of the 78 counties. A higher percentage of violent crime contributed to lower social and economic standings, and injury deaths were high.

The full report can be found online at www.countyhealthrankings.org. A feature story about all Kansas counties from the Kansas News Service is also available here.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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