MORGAN — For the third year in a row, Morgan County is the healthiest county in the state, according to a national report.
The County Health Rankings report, conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin, compares counties in a number of categories, including healthy behavior, clinical care and social and economic factors.
In the study, Cache County ranked No. 2, Davis County ranked No. 5, Box Elder No. 6 and Weber County No. 14.
Rates of smoking, obesity, excessive drinking, availability to primary care, poverty, community safety, premature deaths and teenage births were other areas studied.
Four percent of Morgan County residents reported ailing health, compared to 19 percent in Carbon County, the lowest-ranked county in the state. Morgan County reported 12 teenagers giving birth last year compared to 38 in Carbon County.
Sixty-five percent of women in both Weber and Morgan counties are getting their annual mammograms, while 63 percent in Davis and 58 percent in Box Elder are being screened.
“It is extremely gratifying to see that Morgan County has again achieved the status of the most healthy county in Utah,” said Gary House, director of the Weber-Morgan Health Department.
“It is reflective of the lifestyle choices being made by Morgan County residents and the physical environment in which they live.”
In addition to its many walking trails, Morgan County holds a marathon each summer. Schools are also making an effort to provide healthy choices in lunch menus that include plenty of fruits and vegetables.
The county also enjoys cleaner air compared to that of other counties, according to the report.
Dr. Patrick Remington, associate dean for public health at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine, said the report is a call to action, prompting county leaders to come together to see where they need to make changes to improve the health of their communities.
In the report, 11 percent of Davis County residents reported fair or poor health, 25 percent of adults were reported as being obese, 11 percent were uninsured and 7.1 percent were unemployed.
“Davis County Health Department uses this report and many other sources of health data to provide direction for the programs needed to continually improve our community’s health,” said Brian Hatch, Davis County Health Department epidemiologist.
“Programs such as Baby Your Baby, tobacco cessation, injury prevention, vehicle emission and communicable disease are all directly designed and tied to the health indicators indicated in this report.”
Weber County moved from the 15th spot last year to No. 14 this year.
House said this is because of collective efforts in the community to improve access to health care, educating the public and addressing socioeconomic disparities and unhealthy environmental conditions.
In addition, he said, Morgan County’s status is reflective of the close proximity to, and availability of, excellent health care resources in Weber County.
“These annual rankings are a wonderful reminder of the importance of both individual and community health, and encourage all Utahns to continue making healthy living a crucial quality-of-life issue.”