Study ranks Milw. Co. one of the unhealthiest counties in country

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- How long will you live? How healthy will you be? They are questions difficult to predict, but on Wednesday, March 26th, rankings came out to show the healthiest and the unhealthiest counties in the country. As it turns out, one of the unhealthiest counties is Milwaukee County.

The nationwide study based at the University of Wisconsin rates counties all over the country according to health.

The healthiest county in Wisconsin is Ozaukee County. The unhealthiest county in Wisconsin is Milwaukee County.

The County Health Rankings study, paid for by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation looks at 29 different factors, including smoking, high school graduation rates, employment, physical inactivity and access to healthy foods.

The Milwaukee Health Department is saying the stress of living in poverty can have an effect on a person's health.

"I think the report shows in a smart and clear way that the needs in Milwaukee -- of all 72 counties, not surprisingly exceed those of the others," Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said.

Abele agrees financial health often translates into other areas of life.

"Typically when you look at the funding streams that come to Milwaukee over the years, there's quite a few where Milwaukee gets lower per capita levels than the other counties. So here's a study that says 'you want to know what the impact of funding at a lower level is, in one county? Well there's the impact,'" Abele said.

The study says people living in the unhealthiest counties are twice as likely to have shorter lives as people in the healthiest counties.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett echoes the importance of economic factors in determining health.

While money can't buy health, it can make for a healthier lifestyle.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which commissioned the study says the goal is to get people talking about how everyone can lead a healthier and longer life.