Johnson County maintains its top ranking as the healthiest place to live in Kansas according to the ninth annual County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, released on March 14, 2018 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI). The Rankings are available at www.countyhealthrankings.org.
“Johnson County is fortunate to have many of the key factors that contribute to a long and healthy life,” says Lougene Marsh, director of the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment. “However, this report is also a call to action for leaders and community members to note those areas where we can make improvements so everyone in Johnson County has a fair and just chance to lead the healthiest life possible”
The 2018 Rankings show that where you live influences how well and how long you live. Good health is influenced by many factors beyond medical care including housing, education, jobs, access to healthy foods and more.
Johnson County ranked number one in the state for another year for health outcomes like a low number of premature deaths and low birthweight babies. The county also ranked number one for health factors such as access to quality medical care and exercise opportunities, a healthy food environment and a high percentage of adults with some post-secondary education.
The report identifies areas where more work needs to be done in Johnson County to reduce obesity and heavy drinking in adults, slow down the rate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and address the number of workers who commute in their car alone.
Marsh says Johnson County has a number of initiatives underway to address these issues: LiveWell Johnson County, a grant-funded program that addresses chronic disease prevention by promoting healthy eating and active living; and abstinence-based programs for adolescents that focus on STI and pregnancy prevention; and improved mass transit with the expansion of RideKC routes to southern Johnson County starting in April 2018.