New rankings show healthiest and least healthy counties in Florida; St. Johns the healthiest

in Apolitical by

Which counties were the healthiest and most unhealthy throughout the Sunshine State?

St. Johns County ranked first in both key indexes used by the seventh annual county health rankings by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which partners with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute to work with communities around the country to take a  snapshot and learn how our environments affect us.

It was St. Johns County’s six consecutive year taking both the “health outcomes” category, which accounts for length and quality of life, and “health factors,” a complex metric comprised of lifestyle habits, access to medical care, area socioeconomics and the physical and the physical environment around us.

Collier, Sarasota, Seminole and Martin counties round out the top five health outcomes. In health factors, Sarasota, Martin, Seminole and Collier round out the top five in that index.

So those are the healthiest.

Which are the unhealthiest?

Gadsden and Union counties are at or near the bottom again.

The rankings use self-reported information, factoring in natural and unnatural deaths — both intentional and unintentional. Smoking, traffic, car accidents, alcohol consumption and much more are used in the data.

The biggest surprise, said Aliana Havrilla, a community coach with County Health Rankings and Roadmaps? Deaths of younger generations are on the rise.

“Drugs are a big factor in the category,” Havrilla told Tuesday. “This is a key trend we’re seeing right now.”

Havrilla said that what their researchers are learning is that where we live definitely has an influence on us.

The 2016 rankings examined the differences between rural and urban influences on how humans live.

“The rankings help to see where the counties are doing well and where improvements are needed,” the community coach said.

All resources used in the rankings are available online at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.