Thursday, March 31, 2011

County Health Rankings

Article Information
Author - Molly Hennessy-Fiske
Title - Marin County named healthiest in California in new study; L.A. County ranks 26th
Publication title - Los Angeles Times
Date - March 30, 2011

Questions about the article
1 & 2) The study was conducted and sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

3) No because the study was done nationwide by collecting data based on several different health factors in every county in the United States. The only possible bias could be the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute trying to promote the health of its home state, Wisconsin.

4) The approach of the experiment was to examine two factors - the mortality (length of life) and the morbidity (quality of health during life). The health factors and programs and policies were broken down into four categories - Health behaviors, Clinical care, Social and economic factors, and the Physical environment. Health behaviors included tobacco use, diet & exercise, alcohol use, and unsafe sex. Clinical care was based on the access to care and the quality of the care. The social and economic factors were education, employment, income, family & social support, and community safety. The two factors regarding physical environment were environmental quality and the built environment. Data was collected by polling a certain number of people from each county and percentages and numbers were calculated based on the results from the polls. Unfortunately, no data was given regarding the backgrounds of the people polled like age, sex, or income.

5) Yes, each of the four categories (health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factor, and physical environment) were broken down in a way that was both logical and easily understandable. By analyzing the numbers and figures of the data, the surveyors were able to rank the counties in every US state based on how healthy the population was.

6) No graphs were used.

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