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Nassau, Suffolk among healthiest NY counties, study says

Nassau and Suffolk again ranked among the healthiest counties in the state, according to a study released Wednesday.

Nassau came in second in health outcomes and first in health factors among New York’s 62 counties in the seventh annual study of counties nationwide by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Suffolk was ninth in health outcomes and fifth in health factors statewide.

Health outcomes are a measure of “today’s health” and health factors “are going to predict health in the future,” said Amanda Jovaag, an associate researcher at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Last year, Nassau was fifth in health outcomes and first in health factors; Suffolk ranked 15th in health outcomes and eighth in health factors.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano in a statement praised the “combined efforts of government, businesses, health care providers, schools and community-based organizations working together to improve the health of Nassau County residents.”

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Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein, Nassau’s commissioner of health, said in a statement that while “the statistics continue to show excellence, we remain aware of the impact that health disparities present,” and that his department would continue to work to ensure all residents have access to health care.

The data are collected from about 20 federal studies and surveys from 2010 to 2014, Jovaag said.

Health outcomes include premature death before the age of 75 and the percentage of people with poor or fair health, poor physical and mental health days and low birth weight.

Health factors range from behaviors such as smoking or excessive drinking to access to medical care to physical environment.

Nassau ranked second statewide on health behaviors and Suffolk was sixth. In access to medical care, Nassau ranked fifth statewide and Suffolk was 28th. In social and economic factors and physical environment, Nassau was rated third and 34th, while Suffolk ranked fifth and 28th.

For more information, go to countyhealthrankings.org.

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