Hillsborough County Ranks in Middle for Health
By Christina Sturgis
Some in the Tampa area may wish to quit smoking and cultivate new habits in the wake of a health analysis that ranked Hillsborough County 31st out of 67 counties in the Sunshine State, a list that begins with St. John’s County in the St. Augustine area and ends with Union County.
The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps Program is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The report analyzes data, such as premature death and days of illness, along with health behaviors, social and economic factors, and environmental factors, such as air and water purity.
For example, Hillsborough scored worse than top-ranked St. John’s County in every behavior, ranging from the percentage of adult smokers, 20 to 14; to the percentage of obese adults, 26 to 22; to the percentage of chronic drinkers, 24 to 18; and the number of sexually transmitted infections, 571 to 215.
Better habits translate into a longer, healthier life, according to the report. The picture is even grimmer in north Florida’s Union County, ranked dead last in the analysis. Another logical place to sample Florida’s health is Duval County, which is contiguous with its largest city, Jacksonville, ranked 47th.
Florida as a whole is ranked No. 33 in an analysis by the United Health Foundation. Perhaps the most disturbing statistic in that report is a progression that shows the majority of states rising dramatically in obesity since 1991.
For anyone wishing to move to a region with better statistics, it may be worth taking a look at real estate numbers from Zillow. Compare those figures to the median list price for homes in Florida at $199,900 and the median monthly rent at $1,500. The Zillow Home Value Index in Jacksonville is $114,300, up 16 percent since this time last year, compared to Tampa’s figure of $129,400, an increase of 22.8 percent year-over-year.