CHICAGO (WBBM) – A new survey ranks Kendall County as Illinois’ healthiest county, while Cook is 70th among the state’s 102 counties.
As WBBM Newsradio 780′s Regine Schlesinger reports, the findings are part of the second annual county-by-county health check-up.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Regine Schlesinger reports
Dr. James Marks of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says the researchers took into account many factors, including “things like smoking rates and obesity rates, neighborhood safety, access to parks, things like that.”
The survey finds that the wealthiest counties also tend to be the healthiest, and thus, many Chicago area collar counties rank high. Kendall comes in first place, followed by DuPage in second, McHenry fourth, Lake eighth and Kane ninth. The last remaining collar county, Will County, comes in 17th.
Ranking dead last at No. 102 is downstate Alexander County, home to the struggling Southern Illinois city of Cairo.
Dr. Marks says while health is largely a matter of personal responsibility, this is also a wake-up call for governments.
“No government program can take over for what people need to do for themselves,” Marks said. “But we do know that millions of people live in places where healthy choices are almost impossible — it’s unsafe to walk for exercise, you can’t get fresh fruits and vegetables at the corner store or in supermarkets.”