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April 4, 2012 | 2 minute read

Health Habits Linked to Cancer Risk: How Does Your County Rank?

Our country as a whole is in an obesity epidemic and grades poorly on many other health habits that increase cancer risk, but what about your community?

You can now find out with the 2012 County Health Rankings.

Released yesterday, the rankings come in the middle of National Public Health Week and follow a major study suggesting that we can prevent over half of all cancers. We wrote about that here.

You can see how your county rates in smoking, adult obesity, excessive drinking, access to healthy foods, and numerous other factors that indicate your area’s health. Many of these factors, such as obesity and inactivity, are linked to increased risk of many common cancers. Physical inactivity, along with how many fast food restaurants counties have, are new this year.

The rankings also look at potential for premature death, represented by the years of potential life lost before age 75.

You can also see how your county ranks in diabetes screening, air pollution, and breast cancer screenings. Health measures fall under four categories: health behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment.

Now in its third year, the rankings are done by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Have ideas to improve the health of your community? Please share.

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