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For the fifth consecutive year, a national study rated St. Charles County among the healthiest in Missouri, according to a press release.

The annual County Health Rankings, compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute, placed St. Charles County in the top three in Missouri for both its “Health Outcomes” and “Health Factors” categories.

The rankings are based upon public data collected from vital statistics and government health surveys. Health Outcomes are a representation of the current health of a community, with rankings determined by how long people live (mortality) and how healthy they feel (morbidity). Health Factors allude to the population’s health in the future and the items that influence overall well-being. The complete nationwide and Missouri-specific rankings may be viewed at www.countyhealthrankings.org.

Topping the state for the second consecutive year for “Social and Economic Factors,” as well as high marks for “Clinical Care” and “Health Behaviors,” contributed to the county’s ranking in Health Factors.

The county's Department of Community Health and the Environment programs enhance the well-being of the community. Department staff monitor disease threats, reduce incidences of disease and assess the health needs of residents. Last year, this system investigated and managed more than 2,400 potentially threatening illness cases in our community. Other programs include free immunizations through the Vaccines For Children program, low-cost vaccinations for uninsured or under-insured children participating in the Children’s Immunization Program and adults in the Adult Immunization Program, as well as low-cost treatment and prevention services through the STD Clinic. Additionally, the Women, Infants and Children program counsels more than 1,600 participants each month on the importance of proper nutrition for families and provides foods for pregnant women and young children.

In addition to medical support programs, the department guides residents and organizations on health and well-being through outreach and education. One example of this outreach is the regional collaboration to host the ongoing Faith Based Emergency Preparedness workshops designed to help churches and organizations develop response plans that would aid congregations in times of need. The department’s Health Education staff also presented more than 350 nutrition and fitness, alcohol abuse prevention, hygiene and other programs to day care centers, schools, businesses and senior centers in the last year.

As a result of St. Charles County’s healthy lifestyle, department staff and other agencies can be proactive in dealing with potential risks that may contribute to poor health, such as reducing the number of daily smokers (17 percent of survey respondents in the county).

Visit health.sccmo.org/health or call 636-949-7400.