Report shows Juneau and Sitka as the healthiest communities in Alaska

March 28 2014

JUNEAU – The SouthEast Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) wishes to congratulate Juneau for its ranking of healthiest community in Alaska, and Sitka for being the second healthiest in the state according to the fifth annual County Health Rankings, released earlier this week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI).

SEARHC has a long history of providing healthcare and other services that directly support many of the criteria that goes into ranking the health of Alaskan communities, such as anti-smoking policy, encouraging physical activity, and a healthy diet. The organization is proud to be able to play a role in the ability of patients in all Southeast communities to both obtain and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

It is important to note that other Southeast communities made a respectable showing in the report, with Skagway, Hoonah, Angoon, and Haines in the top fifty percent.

The Rankings provide county-to-county comparisons within a state and rank the overall health of counties in all 50 states. Alaska’s data are broken out by fourteen boroughs, 10 census areas and the Municipality of Anchorage. An additional four boroughs — Aleutians East, Bristol Bay, Denali, and Yakutat — are not included in the rankings due to their low population counts. The 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.

According to the 2014 Rankings, Kodiak Island Borough came in third, followed by Fairbanks North Star Borough and Southeast Fairbanks census area. The areas with the poorest health outcomes are the Bethel, Yukon-Koyukuk, Nome and Wade Hampton census areas, and the Northwest Arctic Borough. The Municipality of Anchorage ranks at 13th for overall health outcomes.

“The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s vision for a culture of health is one where everyone has the opportunity to be healthy,” said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF president and CEO. “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.”

The complete report is available at www.countyhealthrankings.org