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Report gives snapshot of health in each county

WASHINGTON (AP) - A new report suggests that where you live plays a role in how healthy, or unhealthy you are.

The report, written by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, ranks each of the nation's more than 3,000 counties.

It takes a look at the factors that play a role in one's general health and premature death, such as smoking, obesity, binge drinking, unemployment, child poverty and air pollution.

The study illuminates a well-known trend: The least healthy counties tend to be poor and rural, and the healthiest ones tend to be urban or suburban and upper-income.

Dr. Patrick Remington of the University of Wisconsin says the report doesn't compare states, but counties within a state. For example, Menominee County, Wis., is ranked last in the state, with 15 percent of its residents in poor or fair health and a high rate of premature death. Remington says the county is an Indian reservation that has no grocery store, but fast-food restaurants.

Remington says, "Without a grocery store, it's hard to make a healthy choice about what you're going to eat for lunch or dinner."

In northern Kentucky, Boone County is ranked as the healthiest county of the state's 120 counties. Owen is 7th, Mason is 28th,  Kenton is 30th, Campbell is 32nd, Bracken is 44th, Robertson is 57th, Carroll is 58th, Gallatin is 72nd, Pendleton is 81st and Grant is 89th.

In southwest Ohio, Warren County leads the area, ranked 5th-best of the state's 88 counties. Clermont is 32nd, Butler is 50th, Brown is 52nd, Clinton is 59th, Hamilton is 69th, and Adams is 83rd. Delaware County leads Ohio as the healthiest county.

Some of southeast Indiana's counties are in the top half of the state's 92 counties. Dearborn is 25th, Ripley is 26th, Franklin is 27th and Ohio is 36th, while Union is 62nd, Fayette is 85th and Switzerland is 90th. Indiana's healthiest county is Hamilton.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. With additional reporting from FOX19.com staff.

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