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March 28, 2013

Study ranks Fauquier 33rd in Virginia for health

The Warrenton Branch Greenway gets lots of use, but 1 in 5 Fauquier adults gets no physical activity during leisure time.
Fauquier ranks 33rd in health among 133 Virginia counties and cities, according to a new report.

University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute
researchers considered health behaviors, clinical care, social/economic factors and the environment. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, N.J., sponsored the survey and report, “County Health Rankings & Roadmaps.”

Fairfax and Loudoun counties ranked as Virginia’s healthiest communities. Northern Virginia localities occupy eight of the top 10.

The City of Petersburg and Tazewell County came in at the bottom of the survey.

Adult obesity — at 27 percent of that population — ranks among Fauquier’s top health problems, according to the survey.

Statistics about Fauquier from the report include:

• 48 percent of local restaurants serve “fast food.”

• 22 percent of children live in single-parent households.

• 21 percent of adults 20 or older report no leisure time physical activity.

• 19 percent of public school students qualify for free lunches, compared with 31 percent statewide.

• 17 percent of adults smoke.

• 15 percent drink alcohol to excess.

• 15 percent of adults lack adequate social/emotional support.

• 13 percent of adults report “poor or fair health.”

• 13 percent of residents lack health insurance.

Fauquier has fewer mental health providers, primary care physicians and dentists than statewide, per-capita averages:

• The county has one mental health provider for each 4,359 residents, twice the state average.

• The county has one physician per 2,043 residents, compared to one per 1,356 across Virginia.

• The county has one dentist per 1,827 residents, slightly more than the statewide average.

With high median household income of $85,096 and a 93-percent high school graduation rate, Fauquier ranks ninth statewide in “social and economic factors.”

“The county health rankings can be put to use right away by leaders in government, business, health care and every citizen motivated to work together to create a culture of health in their community,” Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President/CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey said. “The rankings are driving innovation, unleashing creativity and inspiring big changes to improve health in communities large and small throughout the country.”

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Associate Dean Patrick Remington added: “We all have a stake in creating a healthier community and no single sector alone can tackle the health challenges in any given community. Collaboration is critical. The rankings are sparking action all over the country as people from all sectors join forces to create new possibilities in health — county by county.”

The Virginia rankings

* = borders Fauquier

1 — Fairfax County

2 — Loudoun County*

3 — Arlington County

4 — Albemarle County

5 — York County

6 — James City County

7 — City of Manassas

8 — City of Alexandria

9 — City of Manassas Park

10 — Prince William County*

Other Fauquier neighbors

18 — Stafford County

27 — Clarke County

33 — Fauquier County

37 — Rappahannock County

41 — Culpeper County

62 — Warren County
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