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Santa Clara County Ranks as Second Healthiest California County in National Health Rankings Study

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – In a new study released today, Santa Clara County ranked as the second healthiest county in California, only behind Marin. 58 counties in California were ranked and San Francisco County finished 24th, Los Angeles County 28th, and Sacramento 31st.

The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps study measured health outcomes such as mortality and morbidity. It looked at health factors such as health behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment. The rankings are meant to help counties understand what influences the health of residents and how long they will live.

“Santa Clara County’s health ranking is a good indicator of the commitment our community has to the health and wellness of our residents,” said President George Shirakawa, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “Reducing exposure to second-hand smoke, reducing childhood obesity and improving nutritional standards are some of the policies we have enacted to positively influence the health of our community.”

Smoking rates in Santa Clara County are better than the state and nation. In Santa Clara County, 10 percent of the population smokes. For California and the nation, it is 14 percent of the population. County obesity rates are also better, Santa Clara County is at 21 percent of the population, California is 25 percent and the national rate is 24 percent.

Santa Clara County is much lower on preventable deaths at 4,052 per 100,000 compared to the national average of 5,466 or the California average of 5,922 per 100,000.

Santa Clara County residents die less in car crashes. And the motor vehicle death crash rate was low, only 7 per 100,000 population. This compares well against both California and the national mark at 12 per 100,000.

Santa Clara County has more work to do in the area of sexually transmitted diseases - specifically Chlamydia – with 306 cases reported per 100,000 persons.  California shows 399 cases in the same category. Nationwide, the rate drops to 84 cases per 100,000.

According to the study, 13 percent of Santa Clara County children live in poverty which is the same as the national average and below the California average of 22 percent. It seems residents are more educated; 78 percent have graduated from high school, compared with 74 percent for the state, and 73 percent had at least some college education, compared with 60 percent in California and 68 percent nationwide.

Drinking is an issue in many California counties, and Santa Clara County is no exception. 13 percent reported excessive drinking, considered binge and heavy drinking. That compares with 8 percent nationwide, 17 percent in California.

The study is a collaborative effort between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. View the full report at


Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Laurel Anderson, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119, Joy Alexiou, Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System, 408-885-4164, Amy Cornell, Public Health Department, 408-792-5155.
Posted: April 3, 2012