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In State Health Rankings, SWFL's Healthiest Areas Border the Sickest

Counties in Florida ranked on health outcomes, left (in blue), and health outcomes (in green).
Images: Florida Department of Health
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The annual health ranking of Florida Counties is out, and while some Southwest Florida counties can claim bragging rights, others are looking at ways to improve.The numbers come from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which looks at health behaviors, clinical care, as well as social, economic, and physical environment factors to determine the collective "health factors" in each county.  Another ranking focuses on “health outcomes” which takes into account only how long people in the county live, and how healthy they are in life. 

Among that state's 67 counties, Southwest Florida ranked as follows:

  • Collier County ranked second in health outcomes, and fifth in health factors.
  • Sarasota County was third in health outcomes, and second in health factors.
  • Lee County was 12th in health outcomes, but 24th in health factors.
  • Manatee County ranked 21st in both health outcomes and factors.
  • Charlotte county was 22nd in health outcomes, but 11th in health factors.
  • Glades County was 45th, and 51st in health factors.
  • Hendry County was 53rd, and 67th in health factors.

With Southwest Florida counties at the top and the bottom of the rankings it’s hard not to notice the disparity between counties that share a border. 
Friday at 1 p.m., Peggy Brown of the Health Planning Council of Southwest Florida discusses the disparity and what kinds of programs data like health rankings might lead to that improve theses health outcomes. 

Also joining the program is Jennifer Sexton, with the Charlotte County Department of Health, about what her county gleans from studies like this and how numbers can turn into action.

Copyright 2020 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.
Julie Glenn is the host of Gulf Coast Live. She has been working in southwest Florida as a freelance writer since 2007, most recently as a regular columnist for the Naples Daily News. She began her broadcasting career in 1993 as a reporter/anchor/producer for a local CBS affiliate in Quincy, Illinois. After also working for the NBC affiliate, she decided to move to Parma, Italy where she earned her Master’s degree in communication from the University of Gastronomic Sciences. Her undergraduate degree in Mass Communication is from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.