A few counties in our area are getting healthier. The County Health Rankings is a nation-wide study from the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute.
The study ranks each county in the state based on two categories: health outcomes and health factors.
There are about 60 different factors that go into the study, including quality of life, social and economic status and environmental impact. La Crosse County moved up two spots this year from 21 to 19. Health officials from the county are pleased with the improvement but said the ranking isn't everything.
La Crosse County is moving a few steps closer to its goal of being the healthiest county in Wisconsin.
"There is no reason why we couldn't and shouldn't be," Doug Mormann, director of the La Crosse County Health Department, said.
"Ranks are relative and so you can go up or down based on how everybody else ranks. But when you look at the numbers behind the rank we did actually improve in our health," Catherine Kolkmeier, director of the La Crosse Medical Science Consortium, said.
The county health department said results from the survey show many improvements from last year. They said a big reason is the large number of resources available in the county.
"We're fortunate in La Crosse County we have a lot of great partners that work together," Jennifer Loging, Women, Infant, and Children and Nutrition manager with the La Crosse County Health Department, said.
"One of the areas there's been a lot of improvement and a lot of activity is, for instance, the risky drinking culture. There have been a number of activities and community efforts both with our coalition but also at the city level that have made some improvements," Kolkmeier said.
An area the county didn't see improvement in is the number of sexually transmitted diseases.
"This is something that, there's a lot of work being done at the health department but it is something that's known as an issue in this community," Kolkmeier said.
The health department said they will use this data to help find a solution.
"Part of the challenge, part of the value of (this) data is they do enable us to look at ourselves and figure out what things are working well and then those things that we need to do a better job at," Mormann said.
Another area that La Crosse County doesn't score well in is environmental impact, where it ranks No. 38. Rankings for other counties in the area: Vernon County ranked 15, Trempeleau County at 34, Monroe County is 46, Jackson County at 66 and Juneau County at 67.
A complete list of results for any county in the nation can be found at: http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/.