Albemarle County - 4th healthiest
Fluvanna County - 18th
Goochland County 19th
Nelson County - 23rd
Greene County - 40th
Orange County - 45th
City of Charlottesville - 47th
Culpeper County - 54th
Madison County - 58th
Louisa County - 81st
Buckingham County - 98th
April 3, 2012
Counties and municipalities in northern Virginia tend to be healthier than their counterparts in the southern part of the state, according to a report released Tuesday.
The report was released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin researchers. It ranks counties by several health factors and other areas such as education, access to health care, and unemployment.
The report declared Fairfax County the healthiest area overall, followed by Arlington and Loudoun, both in northern Virginia; Albemarle, in central Virginia; and York, in eastern Virginia.
"We realize that the health of our community depends on many factors, and we appreciate the role of our many partners including health care providers and all of those who work to provide a positive physical and socioeconomic climate for our citizens," said County Executive Tom Foley. "We also applaud the individual behaviors of our residents whose healthy lifestyle choices add to the positive health outcomes cited in the report."
At the bottom of the list is the city of Petersburg, whose premature death rate was more than double the state average and four times higher than Fairfax County. Petersburg also was last in behaviors such as adult smoking and obesity and physical inactivity, and worst in social and economic factors such as education, unemployment and poverty.
Others among the unhealthiest areas were the city of Emporia, Buchanan County, Dickenson County, and the city of Franklin.
Several new measures in this year's report include how many fast-food restaurants a county has, the levels of physical inactivity among residents, and premature death trends over the previous decade.
Dr. Patrick Remington, associate dean for public health at the Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, said the rankings are "a call to action to take steps to improve the health of communities."
Fairfax, Arlington and Loudoun have filled the top three spots in order in each of the survey's three years.
Fairfax was listed first in the lowest number of premature deaths. Arlington was at the top in terms of health behavior, and the report listed Loudoun as best for social and economic factors.
To see the rankings, click here.