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Garfield County 20th in healthiest Colorado places analysis

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Garfield County ranks among the top 200 healthiest counties in the United States, but lags behind four of its immediate neighbors in a recent analysis of “America’s Healthiest Places.”

The life insurance study was conducted by SmartAsset, an online financial technology company that provides personal finance advice on everything from insurance and investing to home buying and retirement. 

The data analysis looked at a variety of measures to determine the healthiest counties in the United States, including adult smoking and obesity rates, consumption of alcohol, the percent of people without health insurance, the number of primary care doctors per capita and general life expectancy.

The study ranked Garfield County — including Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, New Castle, Silt, Rifle and Parachute — 20th among Colorado’s 64 counties. Nationwide, Garfield came in 194th.

“Our study aims to find the healthiest places in the country,” according to a summary of the report released in mid-December.

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“An individual’s health is key to assessing life expectancy, which is the ultimate determinant of the price one pays for life insurance,” according to the report. 

The analysis considered three primary factors: length of life, health behaviors and healthcare access. A weighted average was used to yield an overall healthiest places score, according to the summary.

Leading Colorado in the study was Douglas County, followed by Boulder County. Five Western Slope counties cracked the top 10, including Pitkin (third), Eagle (fifth), Summit (sixth), Routt (seventh) and La Plata (10th).

While Pitkin, Eagle and Routt counties had a more favorable smoking and obesity rate, Garfield County did have a lower rate of people who drink excessively, at 20.5%, compared to 23.2% for Pitkin, 22.9% for Eagle and 22.7% for Routt.

The high percentage of Garfield County residents who don’t have health insurance, 15.3%, was a drawback in the ranking. By comparison, the top 10 Colorado counties had an uninsured rate ranging from a low of 3.7% in Douglas County to 12.9% in Eagle County.

jstroud@postindependent.com 

Healthiest Colorado Counties Analysis

Garfield County By the Numbers

13.1 — Percent of adult smokers in Garfield County.

21.6% — Obesity rate for Garfield County.

20.5 — Percent of Garfield County residents who drink excessively.

15.3% — Uninsured rate for Garfield County.

3rd — Colorado Healthiest Places ranking for neighboring Pitkin County. Garfield County was 20th, Eagle County was fifth, Routt County seventh, Rio Blanco County 18th and Mesa County 30th.

Source: Smart Asset America’s Healthiest Places study


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