Buchanan County ranks as the 76th-least healthy county in Missouri, according to the eighth annual County Health Rankings released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
The rankings do not appear to follow any geographical boundaries.
The healthiest county in the state was just a few miles down I-29 in Platte County, while Missouri’s least-healthy county is Pemiscott County in the bootheel of southeastern Missouri.
The authors say the rankings show that where you live influences how well and how long you live. The look at factors ranging from education and employment to smoking and sexual activity, using data from government and industry statistics and programs.
Many of the healthiest counties in the state are in Northwest Missouri, including Atchison County (#4) and Andrew County (#7). Nodaway County was ranked 13th-healthiest, and Gentry County was 15th on the list.
Johnson County ranks healthiest in Kansas, while nearby Wyandotte County was ranked near the bottom at 101st. Labette County is the least healthy county in that state according to the study. Doniphan County ranked as the 15th-healthiest county in Kansas.
The authors say the local level data makes it clear that good health is influenced by many factors beyond medical care including housing, education, jobs, access to healthy foods, and more.
The Rankings Key Findings Report reveals that drug overdose deaths are fueling a dramatic increase in premature deaths nationally. The drug overdose epidemic is the leading cause of death among 25- to 44-year olds and is a clear driver of the trend. Drug deaths are also accelerating among 15- to 24- year olds, but nearly three times as many people in this age group die by homicide, suicide, or in motor vehicle crashes.
The Rankings are available at www.countyhealthrankings.org.