Mara Powell

JEFFERSONTOWN, KY – An easy-to-use snapshot that compares counties within states, the eighth annual County Health Rankings show that where you live influences how well and how long you live. The local level data makes it clear that good health is influenced by many factors beyond healthcare including housing, education, jobs, access to healthy foods, and more.

“The reality is, children’s health is touched deeply and pervasively by where they live, learn, and play – long before they get to the doctor’s office or dentist’s chair,” said Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates. “Health begins in strong, loving families. It begins in neighborhoods that guarantee safety and foster healthy practices.”

According to the 2017 Rankings, Oldham, Boone, Spencer, Shelby, and Woodford are among the Kentucky counties with the best health outcomes, while Breathitt, Wolfe, Owsley, Knott, and Harlan are among the counties with the worst health outcomes.

“If we really want to improve children’s health, we need to start with their families, their neighborhoods, and their schools. It begins with accessible grocery stores that have fresh fruits and vegetables and public places with clean, smoke-free air. Health is safe and nurturing early care settings for infants and toddlers. It is a good education and having the family financial resources needed to make ends meet,” said Dr. Brooks.

The County Health Rankings, released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI), show that all Kentucky counties can take action to improve their communities health, no matter where they rank.

“No single institution, policy, or program can build a healthy Kentucky that nurtures families and communities. Instead, it is about strategic and common sense efforts from local communities, Frankfort, and Washington. Then, and only then, will progress toward better health be a Bluegrass reality,” said Dr. Brooks

The 2017 County Health Rankings are available at To find data on topics beyond health, visit the KIDS COUNT Data Center at


Kentucky Youth Advocates believes all children deserve to be safe, healthy, and secure. As THE independent voice for Kentucky’s children, we work to ensure policymakers create investments and policies that are good for children. For more information, visit

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working with others to build a national Culture of Health enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at

About the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute

The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute advances health and well-being for all by developing and evaluating interventions and promoting evidence-based approaches to policy and practice at the local, state, and national levels. The Institute works across the full spectrum of factors that contribute to health. A focal point for health and health care dialogue within the University of Wisconsin-Madison and beyond, and a convener of stakeholders, the Institute promotes an exchange of expertise between those in academia and those in the policy and practice arena. The Institute leads the work on the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and the RWJF Culture of Health Prize. For more information, visit