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Study: McLean County ranks 15th for overall health in Illinois

McLean County Health Department sign
Emily Bollinger
/
WGLT
McLean County ranks 15th in overall health in Illinois, according to an annual study of about 30 factors.

A study ranks McLean County 15th out of Illinois’ 102 counties for overall health.

The annual study by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute ranks counties on 30 health and socioeconomic factors. The report gave McLean County good marks for higher rates of flu vaccinations (58%) and mammography screenings (56%). The county also rated well for the number people with health insurance (94% adults and 96% children).

“Our ranking reflects the priority this county has placed on improving the factors that affect residents’ health, and it also shows how important it will be for us to sustain those programs if we want to stay healthy,” said McLean County Health Department (MCHD) Administrator Jessica McKnight.

The rankings also show higher-than-average rates for adult obesity (34%), sexually-transmitted diseases and income inequality, along with increases in child poverty and violent crime.

“While we ranked among the healthiest overall in the state, we also know that some groups in our community may not have the necessary conditions to be healthy, such as a living wage job, affordable housing or access to healthy foods,” said McKnight.

McKnight said because of lags in data, the 20022 rankings only show early signs of the coronavirus pandemic. She said it’s likely that pre-pandemic health problems have likely only worsened over the last two years.

“There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has played an integral role in overall community health, but we have yet to see the longer-range effects,” said McKnight.

The study also indicates a shortage of primary care physicians and dentists per capita, compared with other counties.

McLean County dropped from the number 13 ranking last year, trailing two neighboring counties; Piatt (4) and Woodford (9). Tazewell County was rated No. 14, Logan County was No. 46 and Livingston County was No. 79. DuPage County ranked as the healthiest in Illinois.

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