U.S. News & World Report released a new set of rankings for children’s health this week, and Marin County emerged in the top spot among all counties in the United States.
“Marin’s top spot highlights the value our residents place on health, nutrition and physical activity,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County Public Health Officer.
“While we welcome the good news and want to celebrate the many accomplishments achieved in Marin, there is still much work to do," said Larry Meredith, Director of Marin County Department of Health and Human Services. "For instance, childhood obesity rates, which were not included, are a growing area of concern for Marin kids.”
The rankings are based on averages and do not reflect the significant disparities that exist between communities in Marin.
The analysis represents the first national, county-level assessment of how health and environmental factors affect the well-being of children younger than 18. The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, which evaluates health data for the entire U.S. population, assisted with developing the rankings as part of the U.S. News Best Children's Hospitals 2013-2014.
“Your zip code should not determine your health, but we see a 17-year gap in life expectancy between the wealthiest and poorest neighborhoods in Marin,” Willis said.
Work is being done to change that gap. Community efforts, such as First 5 Marin, Marin Kids and Schools Rule, are working to ensure that every child in Marin has equal health opportunities. The Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) program is working with communities in new ways that promote healthy eating and active living.
This summer, health officials, local communities and the Marin County Board of Supervisors are supporting a “Soda Free Summer.” The Nutrition Wellness Program (NWP) will host trainings and events on how to “Rethink Your Drink” targeting summer programs for youth. Additional efforts will look at marketing, product availability, and pricing practices in our retail stores to help reduce access to sugar-sweetened beverages.
Please visit us at https://www.marinhhs.org/ for more information.