The latest in a series of Florida state rankings, for some, will come as no surprise. St. John's County in Florida ranks as the healthiest in the state for the 8th straight year.

St. Johns County is the healthiest county in Florida for the eighth straight year, according to an annual study that ranks all 67 of the state’s counties.

The study was conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and shows, according to the report, that “where you live influences how well and how long you live.” All 50 states are part of the report.

The top 12 healthiest counties in Florida:


St. John's
Collier
Martin
Seminole
Miami-Dade
Sarasota
Santa Rosa
Monroe
Flagler
Orange
Lee
Palm Beach

A variety of factors contribute to the ratings, including the availability of healthy food, access to doctors, rates of smoking, obesity and teen births. Researchers also looked at how long people live, how healthy they say they feel and the percentage of low birth-weight newborns.

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Across the country, not everyone has access to recent health improvements, the study reported: “There are fewer opportunities and resources for better health among groups that have been historically marginalized, including people of color, people living in poverty, people with physical or mental disabilities, LGBTQ persons, and women.”

Nationally, longevity and health outcomes are worse for blacks and Native Americans. Even in the wealthiest counties in the U.S., premature death rates for those groups are about 1.4 times higher than for whites.

Researchers found that poverty plays a large role in how healthy someone is. St. Johns, for example, is the state’s sixth-wealthiest county, while Union ranks last in income and in health.

Duval County comes in at 44th healthiest, down two slots from the previous year. Clay was 16th, Nassau 36th, and Baker was 50th.

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This year’s study emphasized the link between affordable housing and health, saying that those who spend a bigger percentage of their income on housing are forced to spend less on health — while also facing stress, overcrowded or unsafe housing, unplanned moves and even homelessness.

Find Florida's 2019 health summary report here and the other state rankings are available at countyhealthrankings.org.

Love loving Florida? Watch the video below for even more reasons to love this state.

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Matt Soergel: (904) 359-4082

This story originally published to jacksonville.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the GateHouse Media network.

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