“These rankings support the work already going on in Winnebago County over the past year in conjunction with the Healthy Community study (through the Rockford Health Council). This second annual release of county rankings is a tool to remind us that where we live, learn, work and play greatly influence how long and how well we live. It is important to note however, in all communities, health falls short of what it could be,” said Mike Bacon, Public Health Director.
Where Winnebago County compares well to others counties in Illinois is in clinical care, like percent of population with health insurance, ratio of primary care providers to population and preventable hospital stays. We also do well in several environmental areas like low number of poor air quality days and access to healthy foods.
Where we don’t compare well is in the area of health behaviors such as smoking levels, obesity, sexually transmitted infections and teen birth rate. Socio-economic factors like high school graduation rate, unemployment, children in poverty, single parent households are below the statewide mean.
"These finding highlight the need for all segments of our community to work together to intentionally and collaboratively improve our community’s health through individual healthy choices, healthy policies and equal access to high quality services. That is exactly what the RHC ten workgroups have developed as part of their process for a health improvement prioritization and action plan.Those ten areas are: access to care, basic needs, behavioral health, chronic disease, dental care, education/employment, health equity, maternal/prenatal/early childhood, infectious disease, and crime & violence/public safety,” said Mike Bacon. “The Rankings highlight many of the same health and social discrepancies that the Healthy Community Study had underlined.” 
The Rankings, available at www.countyhealthrankings.orgincludes a snapshot of each county in Illinois, with a color-coded map comparing each county’s overall health ranking. Researchers used 27 indicators in five categories to assess the level of overall health or “health outcomes” for Illinois by county: the rate of people dying before age 75, the percent of people who report being in fair or poor health, the numbers of days people report being in poor physical and poor mental health, and the rate of low-birth weight infants (see attached summary tables).
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About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit
About the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute
The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute is the focal point within the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health for translating public health and health policy research into policy and practice. The Institute strives to:
Address a broad range of real-world problems of topical importance to government, business, providers and the public;
Promote partnerships of inquiry between researchers and users of research, breaking down barriers between the academic community and public and private sector policy makers;
Advance the development of interdisciplinary research, along the spectrum from public health to health care;
Provide continuing education for practitioners and opportunities for applied learning for graduate and medical students; and make useful contributions to public health and health policy decisions that improve the health of the public.
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