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2012 County Health Rankings Show Strengths and Weaknesses

Of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania, Allegheny County is worst in the state for particulate matter air pollution, with 49 air pollution particulate days a year.

Kate Konkle, outreach specialist for the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, said, "We don't see that in a lot of communities, but you can also think about, 'Do we have clean indoor air and smoking policies in place?' Some issues are tougher to tackle than others as a local community, and it might be a push at the state level or in other ways to make some of these better."

That's one of the findings of the annual County Health Rankings & Roadmaps report that examines more than 3,000 counties in all 50 states comparing how healthy their residents are.

Allegheny County is 44th in Pennsylvania in "Health Outcomes" and 21st in "Health Factors." Compared to national benchmarks, it has more smokers, more obese people, more heavy drinkers, more teen births, and more STDs. The motor vehicle crash rate, however, is better than the state or national rate, as is our ratio of population to primary care physicians.

Butler fares best in Western Pennsylvania at 10th in "Health Outcomes" and 7th in "Health Factors." Westmoreland, Indiana and Washington also rank above Allegheny County. Cambria, Fayette and Greene counties are near the bottom.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation helped the Population Health Institute produce the data, available at www.countyhealthrankings.org. A feature on the website, County Health Roadmaps, suggests funding, tools and resources for community coalitions and national organizations working to improve health.

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