County Health Rankings officials are coming to Kentucky Tuesday to spotlight local projects to improve community health

State officials and health leaders will gather April 2 at the Kentucky History Center in Frankfort to celebrate Kentucky’s successes in implementing strategies for improving health at the community level, as reflected by the latest edition of County Health Rankings by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Representatives of the foundation and the university will be at the Frankfort event, arranged by the state Department of Public Health, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and the Friedell Committee for Health System Transformation, which is planning a statewide campaign to improve Kentucky’s health status, community by community.

The event will highlight promising local health projects and initiatives to improve community health. It will feature four Kentucky counties – Grant, Todd, Floyd and Franklin counties – that have used the County Health Rankings to help their communities begin to show signs of progress.  Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson will highlight Gov. Steve Beshear’s “Kyhealthnow” initiative to significantly improve Kentucky’s dismal health rankings and habits.

The County Health 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. This year’s rankings include several new measures including housing, transportation and access to mental health providers.

“The County Health Rankings are a starting point for change, helping communities come together, identify priorities, and create solutions that will help all in our diverse society live healthier lives, now and for generations to come.”said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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. For a story on the rankings in Kentucky, click here.

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