New report offers detailed look at the nation's health - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

New report offers detailed look at the nation's health, county-by-county

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WASHINGTON. - How healthy are people where you live? Are you better off than neighbors in nearby towns and suburbs?

Wednesday, researchers published what's believed to be the first county-by-county health report.

These new county health rankings answer questions about health for each of the more than 3,000 counties in America. They explore such things as smoking, drinking, pollution, heart disease and cancer.

"People can get engaged, right now, right away, in making their communities healthier," said the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey.

Most reports compare states, but that doesn't always tell the whole story: Sometimes the healthiest places are right next door to the unhealthiest.

"We've got to make sure the things communities focus on are really important to them," said Lavizzo-Mourey.

The report found cities and suburbs tend to be healthier than rural areas.

Scientists hope the information will spur action, one county at a time.

The study does has some limitations. For instance, you can compare counties within states but not between different states and there's no info for the nation's capitol.

Researchers say they'll fix both of those issues in next year's report.

Spokane County is ranked No. 23 out of the 39 counties in Washington. Kootenai County is ranked No. 9 out of the 42 counties in Idaho.

To get a picture of health in your county, use the link to the right of this story.

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