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U.S. News and Aetna Foundation Release Inaugural Healthiest Communities Rankings

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in rankings and civic journalism, in collaboration with the Aetna Foundation, the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna, today announced the inaugural Healthiest Communities rankings. The new report evaluated nearly 3,000 communities nationwide across 10 categories, from education and population health to infrastructure and economy. In addition to assessing which communities offer their citizens the greatest opportunity to live a productive, healthy life, the rankings offer insight into the best approaches for improving public health that can be shared and implemented across the country.   

U.S. News & World Report Logo. (PRNewsFoto/U.S. News Media Group)

"For nearly thirty years, U.S. News has evaluated hospitals, colleges and other sectors for the benefit of consumers, recognizing the importance of access to trusted, in-depth information," said Eric Gertler, chairman of U.S. News. "Healthiest communities is an extension of that effort, giving citizens, community leaders and policy-makers the tools to assess health in their communities and develop a blueprint for positive change."

In addition to an overall ranking of the top 500 communities, four peer groupings were developed based on counties' urban-rural status as tied to population density and the robustness of their economies. The peer groups assure fair comparisons between communities and are categorized by: urban high-performing, urban up-and-coming, rural high-performing and rural up-and-coming. An Honor Roll was also developed that highlights 36 top-performing communities in each peer group from the nine U.S. Census regions.

"Research has shown that in the United States, your ZIP code is a greater predictor of your life expectancy than your genetic code. In other words, where you live has a significant impact on your overall health," said Mark T. Bertolini, chairman of the Aetna Foundation and chairman and CEO of Aetna. "Our work with U.S. News will provide communities with data that can help them better understand opportunities for improvement, as well as inspire ideas for change by showcasing the best practices of communities across the country."

Key Findings in the 2018 Healthiest Communities rankings:

The Aetna Foundation ? which has helped improve community health for more than 40 years ? currently supports hundreds of programs across the country that address the social determinants of health. Using data from the Healthiest Communities rankings, the Foundation will continue to make targeted investments in locally-based programs and cross-sector partnerships that will accelerate progress towards building healthy communities across the country.

To compile the rankings, U.S. News worked with the University of Missouri Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems (CARES), a research institution skilled in community health assessment, and consulted with members of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics. The rankings are based on 80 metrics drawn from sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Healthiest Communities rankings are the centerpiece of a new platform featuring in-depth reporting and analysis on community and public health issues, as well as comprehensive data covering the full spectrum of factors that influence population health. Healthiest Communities is part of U.S. News' expanding News channel and civic journalism portfolio, which includes the Best States and Best Countries platforms that evaluate how government leaders and public policies best serve their citizens.

2018 Healthiest Communities- Top 10
*See the full rankings here

1. Falls Church city, Virginia
2. Douglas County, Colorado
3. Broomfield County, Colorado
4. Los Alamos County, New Mexico
5. Dukes County, Massachusetts
6. Fairfax city, Virginia
7. Hamilton County, Indiana
8. Routt County, Colorado
9. Ouray County, Colorado
10. Loudoun County, Virginia

Peer Group Rankings ? Top 5

Urban, High-Performing                                               
1. Falls Church city, Virginia 
2. Douglas County, Colorado 
3. Broomfield County, Colorado 
4. Los Alamos County, New Mexico 
5. Dukes County, Massachusetts 

Rural, High-Performing   
1. Routt County, Colorado 
2. Ouray County, Colorado
3. Sublette County, Wyoming  
4. Grand County, Colorado
5. Teton County, Wyoming

Urban, Up-and-Coming                                                      
1. Island County, Washington
2. Bennington County, Vermont
3. Montgomery County, Virginia 
4. Latah County, Idaho 
5. Transylvania County, North Carolina 

Rural, Up-and-Coming
1. Jefferson County, Washington
2. Lincoln County, Washington
3. Dolores County, Colorado
4. Emery County, Utah
5. Keweenaw County, Michigan

Honor Roll Sample                                    

To view the full rankings and search county profiles, please visit: https://www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities

For more information on Healthiest Communities explore Facebook and Twitter using #HealthiestCommunities.

U.S. News Media Contact: Maria Santucci, msantucci@usnews.com, 202-955-2031

Aetna Foundation Contact: Ethan Slavin, SlavinE@aetna.com, 860-273-6095

About U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is a digital news and information company that empowers people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. Focusing on Education, Health, Personal Finance, Travel, Cars and News, USNews.com provides consumer advice, rankings, news and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. More than 30 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

About The Aetna Foundation
The Aetna Foundation is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna (NYSE: AET). As a national health foundation, we promote wellness, health, and access to high-quality health care for everyone. This work is enhanced by the time and commitment of Aetna employees, who volunteered 430,000 hours in 2016 alone. For more information, visit www.aetnafoundation.org.

SOURCE U.S. News & World Report

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