Counties are ranked relative to the health of other counties in the same state and are based on eight factors: overall health outcomes; length of life, quality of life; overall health factors; health behaviors; clinical care; social and economic factors; and physical environment, states the report. "The overall health outcomes summary score is a weighted composite of length of life (50 percent) and quality of life (50 percent). The overall health factors summary score is a weighted composite of four components: health behaviors (30 percent), clinical care (20 percent), social and economic factors (40 percent), and physical environment (10 percent). The component weights for Health Outcomes and Health Factors each add to 100 percent."
Rural areas didn't score well in this year's rankings, receiving high scores in areas such as tobacco use, teen births and preventable hospital stays, Sarah Hedgecock reports for Forbes. Schwarz told her, “The lack of improvement in health in rural counties while other counties have shown improvement over the last almost two decades was shocking to see." (Click on chart for larger, clearer version)