Williamson healthiest Tenn. county; Grundy County ranked last

Williamson healthiest Tennessee county; Grundy County ranked last

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By JESSA LEWIS
6 News Reporter

NASHVILLE (WATE/AP) - A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute ranks the relative health of people living in Tennessee's counties.

The report released Wednesday lists Williamson County as the healthiest among the state's 95 counties. The affluent county is immediately south of Nashville.

Blount County ranked the highest in East Tennessee on the list, coming in at number four.

Some people in Blount County say they are doing their best to make healthy choices, for both themselves and their family.

"I've got a 15-month-old daughter and we really try to instill in her, she loves vegetables, green beans, and carrots, unfortunately I don't really, but she gets it from her mom. But we really try to instill that in her, eating really good foods and what not," said Blount County resident Philip Sharp.

Each county was rated on overall health outcomes, which covers premature death rate and people's mental and physical health while they're alive.

Other factors like health care access were measured too.

Dr. Hal Naramore is the chief medical officer at Blount Memorial Hospital.

"Blount County is blessed with a coalition of people involved in the community, the county government and the hospital and we've actually had a health initiative in Blount County for thirteen years, where those three groups have worked together for the betterment of health in Blount County overall," Dr. Naramore said.

One mark against Blount County: the number of fast food restaurants.

Dr. Naramore says the big chains are doing better about offering healthy choices.

"What I would encourage people to do is study the choices that are available to them if they are choosing a fast food restaurant, and maybe consider not their traditional choice, but maybe some of the newer options which will be a little bit healthier for them," explained Dr. Naramore.

The rankings don't just limit counties by physical health attributes, they are also ranked in part by high school graduation rate and crime rate.

At the opposite end of the rankings is Grundy County, on the southern end of the Cumberland Plateau.

The ranking includes data on the rate of people dying before age 75, high school graduation rates, unemployment, limited access to healthy foods, air and water quality, income, and rates of smoking, obesity and teen births.

The rankings are intended to help communities create solutions that make it easier for people to be healthy in their own communities.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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