It's not just diet and exercise—where people live matters to their health.
And in California, Santa Cruz County earns a decent rating for community health, according to the 2013 County Health Rankings released this week.
Santa Cruz comes in No. 13 in the state for health outcomes, measured by mortality and morbidity. The county ranks 10th for health factors, a broad category that includes health behaviors (like smoking), healthcare, the physical environment, and social and economic factors.
"These ratings are a snapshot of the health of the community," said Dr. Lisa Hernandez, Santa Cruz County Health Officer.
Fifty-seven of California's 58 counties were ranked. Rural Alpine County was too small to measure in many of the categories, officials said.
Santa Cruz County's marks puts the county ahead of neighboring Monterey County but lagging behind Santa Clara County.County Health Rankings 2013 County Health Outcomes Health Factors Monterey 21 29 San Benito 10 23
Santa Clara3 4
Santa Cruz13 10
Santa Cruz has earned better ratings in prior years. Officials attributed the decline in rankings to other counties' improving health, not worsening conditions in Santa Cruz County.
The county saw improvement in the number of adult residents who have graduated from high school, which up to 86 percent at last count. The low across the past four years was 77 percent.
But 19 percent of children in the county live in poverty, and the ratio of physicians to patients climbed, from one doctor per 923 patients in 2012 to one per 1,047 this year.
Check out Santa Cruz County's rankings in various categories over the past four years below. A lower rating is better.Santa Cruz County Health Rankings 2010 2011 2012 2013 Health Outcomes (total) 8 7 10 13 Mortality 6 7 10 10 Morbidity 7 7 13 20 Health Factors (total) 8 20 10 10 Health Behaviors 2 1 3 4 Clinical Care 19 24 13 12 Social & Economic Factors 13 17 23 21 Physical Environment 37 5 10 9
The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program began in 2010 as a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin.
See More on Patch:
- Crowded? Compare Class Sizes at Santa Cruz High Schools
- How Long Is the ER Wait at Santa Cruz County Hospitals?
- SCPD Memorial Procession Viewed From a CHP Motorcycle