March 26, 2014
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Annual rankings show where Delaware Counties do well and where there are opportunities for improvement

DELAWARE—New Castle County ranks healthiest in Delaware while Kent County is the least healthy county in the state, according to the fifth annual County Health Rankings, released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI). The Rankings are available at The Delaware Public Health Institute, a partnership between Public Health Management Corporation and the University of Delaware, College of Health Sciences, who works closely with the State of Delaware, Division of Public Health, was selected to lead the analysis of the Rankings results for Delaware.

"As the state team lead agency analyzing the Rankings for Delaware, we find that the information is an important way to understand the relationship between where we live and our health," said Francine Axler, PHMC's Managing Director, Public Health Institute and PHMC Center for Data Innovation and Co-Executive Director of the Delaware Public Health Institute.

"It's helpful to see where certain counties need to improve so public health organizations can target and address the specific health issues," said Allen Prettyman, Director of Nurse Managed Health Center at University of Delaware and Co-Executive Director of the Delaware Public Health Institute."

The County Health Rankings rank the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states. The Rankings allow counties to see how well they are doing on 29 factors that influence health, including smoking, high school graduation rates, employment, physical inactivity and access to healthy foods. Nationally, this year's Rankings show that people living in the least healthy counties are twice as likely to have shorter lives as people living in the healthiest counties. Unhealthy counties also have twice as many children living in poverty and twice as many teen births as the healthiest counties. This year's rankings also feature several new measures including housing, transportation and access to mental health providers.

According to the 2014 Rankings, New Castle County was the healthiest followed by Sussex and Kent.

In Delaware, regional Ranking highlights include:

  • Health Outcomes and Health Factors: In both categories New Castle ranks the highest, followed by Sussex and then Kent County.
  • Even though New Castle County ranked first in the state, the County had 1,953 more premature deaths than the top performers in the U.S. and exceeds the top performers in excessive drinking (+12%), adult smoking (+2%), obesity (+2%) and alcohol-impaired driving deaths (+19%).
  • Sussex County had 2,372 more premature deaths than the top performers in the U.S. and exceeds the top performers in alcohol-impaired driving deaths (+26%), adult smoking (+6%), adult obesity (+5%), excessive drinking (+8%).
  • The worst ranked, Kent County had 3,021 more premature deaths than the top performers in the U.S. and exceeds the top performers in alcohol-impaired driving deaths (+39%), adult obesity (+9%), adult smoking (+7%) and excessive drinking (+6%)

The Rankings provide county-to-county comparisons within a state. The information is the base that Delaware's Public Health Institute will use to further analyze the results on a neighborhood level.

The County Health Rankings is part of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. The program includes the Roadmaps to Health Action Center, which provides local leaders with tolls, step-by-step guides, and stories to help communities identify and implement solutions that make it easier for people to live healthy lives. The program also includes the annual RWJF Culture of Health Prize, which celebrates communities who are harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners and stakeholders to build a culture of health. This year's Prize winners and the call for 2014-2015 prize applications will be announced in June at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Spotlight: Health.

"The County Health Rankings show us how health is influenced by our everyday surroundings – where we live, learn, work and play," said Bridget Catlin, PhD, MHSA, director of the County Health rankings. "The County Health Rankings often provide the spark for businesses, community planners, policy-makers, public health, parents and others to work together for better health."

About Public Health Management Corporation Center for Data Innovation
Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that creates and sustains healthier communities. The Center for Data Innovation includes the Community Health Data Base (CHDB) and its annual Household Health Survey, one of the largest regional health surveys in the country.The Pew Charitable Trusts, William Penn Foundation, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, United Way of North Penn, Green Tree Community Health Foundation, North Penn Community Health Foundation, Thomas Scattergood Foundation, Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation, and over 350 local agencies from the health, government, nonprofit and academic sectors, help to support the CHDB and survey. For more information visit

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of Americans, the foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For 40 more years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit