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St. Johns County ranks first in Florida health

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ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - St. Johns County ranks first in health among 67 Florida counties, but Duval County comes in at 48th, according to the 2016 County Health Rankings report.

Clay and Nassau counties are in the top 10, and Putnam County is only two spots from the bottom.

“It is exciting to know that St. Johns County is, once again, the healthiest county in Florida. The  phrases ‘It takes a village’ and ‘Health knows no boundaries’ are more true today than ever before,” said Dr. Dawn Allicock, director and health officer of the Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County. “The Rankings validate the longstanding efforts of a broad spectrum of partners working together in St. Johns County that continue to make our community a healthier place to live, learn, work, and play.”

Factors like smoking, obesity and financial status had Duval County slipping down five spots from last year. More than 30 factors were analyzed to determine a county's rankings, including poverty, education, access to health care and violent crime. 

“It‘s unfortunately a little more expensive to eat healthy in this country than eat poorly. If you don’t have the financial resources to be healthy, you’ll be stuck with the high-fat, high-salt diet,” Dr.  Sunil Joshi, president of the Duval County Medical Society said.

Dr. Joshi said the number of people smoking cigarettes in Jacksonville is above the national average, children living in poverty is up 3 percent from last year and one in three people in Duval County are obese.

But, Duval County performs well when it comes to health care.

“Clinical care ranked 11th for Duval out of the 67 counties,” Joshi said.

Joshi said people need to utilize the health care tools available, which could help bring some of the numbers down.

Joshi noted that Duval County is much bigger and more diverse than its neighboring counties, which could contribute to its poor numbers.

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