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How Healthy Is Your County? Northern Virginia Tops State Rankings

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The report includes health factors like health behaviors, clinical care and economic factors.
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The report includes health factors like health behaviors, clinical care and economic factors.

Living in Northern Virginia may be good for your health, at least compared to other areas of the Commonwealth, according to a new report.

Several Northern Virginia communities are the healthiest in the state. The annual County Health Rankings & Roadmaps from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation lists Fairfax County as the healthiest county in the state, followed by Loudoun, Arlington, Albemarle, and York Counties.

Meanwhile, Henry, Dickenson, Buchanan, and Tazewell Counties were at the bottom, followed by the city of Petersburg, which had the least healthy residents. All 133 Virginia localities listed in the report were measured on the length and quality of life as well as health factors.

Bob Hicks from the Virginia Department of Health, says the rankings haven't changed much over the four years the study has been conducted.

"Between the social and economic factors and the access, I think we keep seeing the same sort of problems in Southwest and Southside Virginia that we need to get more facilities out there that people have access to," says Hicks.

But money for more clinics can be a challenge, no matter where in the Commonwealth they would be located.

"Some of our poor areas want to attract more economic development. And they find the corporations, the companies that want to come to these areas are looking for a healthy workforce," says Hicks. "So there's a willness to maybe sometimes invest in some of these changes that can be made to try to change and improve the health of the workforce."

Hicks says the report is a tool to spur dialog in the communities and to create or continue programs for promoting good health.

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