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Study seeks to establish links between civic infrastructure and public health; ranks US by county


University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute placed Essex County 19th of 21 NJ counties

How long and how well people live is the result of many factors — among them education, housing and jobs.

The University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute ranks the health of almost every county in the US every year.

Essex County was ranked 19th out of New Jersey’s 21 counties. Sheri Johnson, director of the Institute, cited one area that needs improvement.

“The number of adults who are uninsured is at 12% in Essex County compared to 9% overall in New Jersey, so that’s an area that local leaders might consider taking action on,” she said, adding that the county does have a number of strengths.

“One hundred percent of people having access to exercise opportunities, comparatively lower rates of excessive drinking, as well as availability of primary care physicians,” she said.

Johnson cited discriminatory practices of decades ago as a reason for its low ranking within the state.

“The redlining that occurred between 1935 and 1940 where neighborhoods in Essex County experienced intentional disinvestment through policy has implications for health even today,” said Johnson.

Janice Kirkel is a lifelong award-winning journalist who has done everything from network newscasts to national and local sports reports to business newscasts to specialized reporting and editing in technical areas of business and finance such as bankruptcy, capital structure changes and reporting on the business of the investment business.