NEWPORT — Vermonters are not equally healthy. According to the 2015 County Health Rankings released by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Orleans and Essex counties rank the least healthy counties in the state.
The County Health Rankings shows, county-by-county across the nation, what makes people sick or healthy, and what can be done to create healthier places to live, learn, work and play.
“The counties of Vermont are as unique as each individual Vermonter,” said James Biernat, director of the Newport district office, which covers Orleans County and northern Essex County. “There are economic and accessibility challenges particular to this region that make moving the needle of health outcomes more difficult.”
This year Chittenden County was ranked the healthiest, as measured by length of life, quality of life, health behaviors, clinical care and the physical environment.
The Health Department continues to work to improve the health in the Northeast Kingdom. One such example is that now more employers than ever support breastfeeding in the workplace.
“Our local career center opened its doors to community indoor walking,” Biernat said. “A local store has taken down outside tobacco advertising. A community garden was built and continues to grow. This is public health in the making. These are the steps that lead to healthy Vermonters living in healthy communities.”