The 2014 County Health Rankings were released last week and saw Macon County fall in position for the third straight year to 19th healthiest county in North Carolina. In years past, Macon has been 13th and 16th out of 100 counties.
The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The two entities rank almost every county in the country. The purpose of the County Health Rankings Index is to help communities create solutions that make it easier for people to be healthy in their communities, focusing on specific factors that they believe affect health, such as education and income, whether a person has health insurance and the quality of health care they receive.
Some of the factors that the rankings consider are the rates of death before the age of 75, air and water quality, high school graduation rates, and unemployment among other benchmarks. Officials boast that the quality of the measures produced to illustrate a county's overall health based on these factors are a sufficient tool for influencing governmental agencies, healthcare providers, community organizations, policy-makers, and the public in their overall concern for health improvements.