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Santa Clara County Ranks High in National Report

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – Santa Clara County has some of the healthiest residents in California according to a new report released today by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The County Health Rankings are the first to rank the overall health of the counties in all 50 states – more than 3,000 total – by using a standard formula to measure how healthy people are and how long they live.

According to the report, a number of factors were used in determining the differences in overall health of a community. These factors ranged from individual behavior to access to health care to education and jobs to food access to air quality. Since these factors can be influenced by public policy and community-based programs, the report provides community leaders with valuable information to assist them in making decisions and changes that will improve the community’s health.

“Health is far more than what happens inside the doctor’s office, and this report sheds light on what it takes to make a healthy community,” said Ken Yeager, President of the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “Santa Clara County’s high ranking should serve as an inspiration for government and community partners to come together to do even better.”

“It is incredibly helpful to get this information,” stated Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, Health Officer for Santa Clara County. “While the overall news about the health of Santa Clara County residents is very good, we know there are significant differences among residents of this community. For example, we know our lower income and out-of-work residents face barriers of access to health services. So we still have a lot of work to do to ensure the best health for our community.”

“We want to do all we can to support better health outcomes for our residents,” said Liz Kniss, Chair of the Board's Health and Hospital Committee. “The County's leadership on menu labeling is an example of how we create policies to support a healthy community.”

“For the first time we can compare the overall health of our county to the health of other counties in our state and nation,” commented Dan Peddycord, Director of the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. “We all have a stake in the health of our community. By working together we can find ways to keep our residents healthy and continue to make progress in areas where improvements are needed.”
Santa Clara County ranked 4th for health outcomes and 3rd for health factors of the 56 California counties surveyed (Alpine and Sierra counties were not surveyed).

Overall health, or “Health Outcomes,” measure how healthy a county is based on mortality and morbidity. The mortality rank, representing length of life, is based on a measure of premature death and the years of potential life lost prior to age 75. The morbidity rank is based on measures that represent health-related quality of life and birth outcomes, such as the percent of births with low birth weight.

Santa Clara County’s Overall Health Outcomes Ranking - 4th out of 56 counties
    •     Santa Clara County’s Mortality Ranking - 2nd out of 56 counties
    •     Santa Clara County’s Morbidity Ranking - 19th out of 56 counties

“Health Factors” measure influences on the health of the county. The factors measured includes Health Behavior (tobacco and alcohol use, diet and exercise, unsafe sex), Clinical Care (quality of and access to health services), Social and Economic (education, employment, income, support, community safety), and Physical Environment (environmental quality and built environment).

Santa Clara County’s Overall Health Factors Ranking - 3rd out of 56 counties
    •     Santa Clara County’s Health Behaviors Ranking - 1st out of 56 counties
    •     Santa Clara County’s Clinical Care Ranking - 10th out of 56 counties
    •     Santa Clara County’s Social & Economic Ranking - 3rd out of 56 counties
    •     Santa Clara County’s Physical Environment Ranking - 34th out of 56 counties

According to the rankings, California’s 10 healthiest counties are, from 1st to 10th: Marin, San Benito, Colusa, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Placer, Orange, Santa Cruz, Sonoma and El Dorado. The 10 counties in the poorest health are Del Norte, Siskiyou, Lake, Trinity, Yuba, Kern, Inyo, Tulare, Madera and Modoc.

The online report, available at, provides a snapshot of each county in California and compares each county’s overall health ranking.


Media Contact: To schedule an interview with Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, Health Officer, please call Joy Alexiou at 408.595.2936; To schedule an interview with Ken Yeager, President of the Board of Supervisors, please contact Jim Weston at 408.299.5040
Posted: February 19, 2010