Taylor County ranks in top-10 healthiest counties in the state

The healthiest counties tended to be the ones that encouraged participation in volunteering and mentoring
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 6:12 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The newest county health rankings and data are in. Some of the healthiest and least healthy counties in the state are in our county according to the University of Wisconsin County Health Rankings.

The University of Wisconsin Health Institute collects data on every county to see how they rank in terms of length and quality of life. There are 72 counties in Wisconsin and Taylor County ranked the highest in our viewing area counties at number seven. Forest County came in second to last in the state.

Why such a large range in areas so close to each other in the state?

University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute Director Sheri Johnson said it depends on a variety of factors. It could be socio-economic factors like education level, poverty, or income inequity. It could also be linked to a variety of data in the categories of health behaviors, clinical care, or physical environment.

Johnson said their main finding this year is having well-resourced civic infrastructure plays a large role in that length and quality of life.

“Which means schools, parks, and libraries where people can gather, learn, share ideas, and understand each other’s perspectives. When local communities invest in these types of places for connection and learning, people tend to live longer,” said Johnson.

Johnson added they found places scored higher when they encouraged participation in things like volunteering, mentoring, and voting. There are several things counties can do to improve, according to Johnson. They’ve created a list of 400 solutions, one of which involves more education in K-12 schools.

To learn more about what goes into the rankings or to see how your county ranks click here.