Where you live influences how well and how long you live, new rankings show.
And they say Mecklenburg County is the fifth-healthiest North Carolina county based on how long people live and how healthy they feel.
The annual health ranking of U.S. counties comes from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
The rankings say Wake County is the healthiest in North Carolina, followed by Orange, Camden, Union and Mecklenburg counties. Those in poorest health are largely rural: Robeson, Scotland, Vance, Edgecombe and Columbus counties.
The disparities between healthy and non-healthy counties are stark.
Health self-reported as poor/fair
Alcohol-impaired driving deaths
Teen births per 1,000
Preventable hospital stays per 1,000 Medicare patients
*Years of potential life lost before age 75 per 100,000 people
While medical care matters, the report says, housing, education and jobs also affect health. The report also points to racial and ethnic disparities, the report says, showing that “lack of opportunity, such as education, jobs and affordable housing, disproportionately affects people of color across the nation and within North Carolina.”
Black people and American Indians living in North Carolina are more likely to live shorter lives than whites and Asians, the report says.
North Carolina has more children living in poverty, fewer people with health insurance and more teen births than the national averages.
“We need to do more to address the true underlying drivers of health, if we want to see improvements and decrease health care costs,” North Carolina’s state health director, Dr. Elizabeth Tilson, said in a statement. “Our vision is a North Carolina that optimizes health and well-being for all people by effectively stewarding resources that bridge our communities and our healthcare system.”