Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade ranks in top 5 healthiest Florida counties

Runners cross the Venetian Causeway bridge heading west at the Miami Marathon and Half Marathon in January.
Runners cross the Venetian Causeway bridge heading west at the Miami Marathon and Half Marathon in January. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Miami-Dade County took the No.5 spot among the healthiest counties in the Sunshine State, according to an annual County Health Rankings report released Wednesday.

St. Johns County, home to St. Augustine, ranked first for overall health outcomes, followed by Collier, Martin, Seminole and Miami-Dade counties. Monroe County placed ninth and Broward ranked 15th for overall health outcomes.

The rankings, published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, compare 30 factors that influence health, including exercise, access to care, education and jobs.

Miami-Dade placed first for length of life and health behaviors, with lower rates than the statewide average for adult smoking, obesity, teen births, alcohol-impaired driving deaths and excessive drinking.

“We are committed to making Miami-Dade County a healthier place to live, learn, work and play,” said Lillian Rivera, administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, in a news release. “The County Health Rankings help us to understand what factors have influenced good health in our community as well as identify areas where we must work harder.”

The county struggled in some of those other areas, ranking 56th out of 67 counties for clinical care. The score is dragged down by a high uninsured rate of 33 percent compared to 24 percent statewide, according to the study. However, the ranking is based on 2012 U.S. Census Bureau data, so it doesn’t reflect the high rate of health insurance enrollment in South Florida under the Affordable Care Act.

In 2015, the Miami metropolitan area alone enrolled more consumers for health coverage under the ACA than enrolled in 35 entire states.

The study also looked at the effect of social factors on health, noting that the unemployment and child poverty rates were low points for the county. Unemployment in Miami-Dade was at 8.4 percent compared to 7.2 percent statewide and child poverty in the county was at 28 percent compared to 25 percent statewide. Those numbers were based on 2013 census data.

The unemployment rate in Miami-Dade County was 6.1 percent in January, compared to 5.7 percent statewide, according to the latest state numbers released this month.

In a separate measure that calculated the effects of health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment, the study ranked Miami-Dade 25th in the state.

“It takes combined efforts of businesses, healthcare providers, government and local leaders to create a healthier community,” said Armando Ferrer, president of Miami Dade College Medical Campus in a news release. “We are proud of our partnership with the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County. Together, we can find ways and create opportunities to help our residents live longer, healthier lives.”

Follow @MHhealth for health news from South Florida and around the nation.

This story was produced in collaboration with Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Top 10 Healthiest Counties in Florida

1. St. Johns

2. Collier

3. Martin

4. Seminole

5. Miami-Dade

6. Sarasota

7. DeSoto

8. Santa Rosa

9. Monroe

10. Palm Beach

Source: County Health Rankings report published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The report is based on U.S. Census Bureau data.

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