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Mirror, mirror: Who's the healthiest county of us all?

March 29, 2011 |  9:01 pm

Orange County is the healthiest county in the Southland; Los Angeles comes in at a mediocre 26th and San Bernardino an abysmal 45th. If you're a fan of rankings, you'll love the new county-by-county health scores from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Its statistics go far beyond the maps recently released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, ranking each county on a wide range of health-related demographics--mortality rates, quality of life, high school graduation rates (yes, education correlates to lifespan), unemployment, obesity and air quality.

Marin County, which already came out looking good on the CDC's ratings of exercise and obesity rates, ranks No. 1 in California, while Del Norte County comes in last. (A couple of counties weren't ranked.) Bay Area counties tended to do well; the most rural counties were pooled at the bottom.

Not that you should make decisions about your next house based on these; they're simply a demographic snapshot. While some aspects of a healthy life can't be controlled by individuals -- such as smog -- exercise and education are more a matter of individual choice. As a society, we tend to overrate ratings.

RELATED:

Physical activity: Angelenos are lazier than you'd think. But why?

--Karin Klein

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