U.S. News, Aetna Foundation Issue 2019 Healthiest Communities Rankings

U.S. News, Aetna Foundation Issue 2019 Healthiest Communities Rankings

A report from U.S. News & World Report and the Aetna Foundation ranks Douglas County, Colorado, as the healthiest community in the United States.

Funded by the Aetna Foundation as part of a $100 million commitment by CVS Health and its affiliates to community health, the report, Healthiest Communities Rankings 2019, evaluated nearly three thousand communities across eighty-one health-related metrics in ten categories, from education and population health to infrastructure and the environment. Douglas County, which moved up from second place on last year's list, topped the rankings of the five hundred healthiest communities, followed by Los Alamos County, New Mexico, up from fourth in 2018; Falls Church, Virginia, which topped last year's list; Loudoun County, Virginia; and Broomfield County, Colorado, down from third last year. 

While the five healthiest communities in the overall rankings were all in the "urban, high-performing" peer group, the top five communities in the "rural, high-performing" group included Teton County, Wyoming (no. 6 overall); Chaffee County, Colorado (no. 11); Morgan County, Utah (no. 12); Routt County, Colorado (no. 14); and Jefferson County, Montana (no. 15). The twenty healthiest communities overall included seven Colorado counties where nearly all adults said they exercise and only about a quarter miss their annual wellness checkups; the state also had the highest average score on environmental metrics. The state with the most counties in the top five hundred rankings, sixty-two, was Iowa.

The report also found that diabetes prevalence and non-smoking rates have the strongest positive correlation to life expectancy, while poor self-reported mental health is linked to higher rates of poverty at the community level. 

"Through our support of organizations across the country, we know that the most effective and innovative solutions to improve health are consistently developed by addressing the needs of each specific community," said CVS Health president and CEO Larry J. Merlo. "The Healthiest Communities rankings continue to provide the insights that are essential to identify key issues and support community organizations, leaders, and residents who are tackling the unique social determinants of health that impact their respective neighborhoods."

"Through the Healthiest Communities initiative, U.S. News expands on three decades of expertise in measuring healthcare quality to assess how social determinants affect community health," said U.S. News & World Reportexecutive chair Eric Gertler. "Our second-year endeavor with the Aetna Foundation combines high-quality data with the power of journalism to engage communities about where they can improve and how they can learn from each other."

"U.S. News and Aetna Foundation Release 2019 Healthiest Communities Rankings." U.S. World and News Report and Aetna Foundation Press Release 03/26/2019.