Newly released county health rankings show both La Crosse and Eau Claire counties fell from last year. Fox 25/48's Zach Prelutsky spoke with a health official who says the rankings can be somewhat misleading.
Last year, La Crosse County was ranked 16th and Eau Claire 21st out of 72 counties in the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute County Health Rankings
This year both are further down on the list with La Crosse checking in at number 27 and Eau Claire ranked 35th.
"I do not think that 27 is an accurate assessment of where we are in the state. I think we're better than that."
Rooney studies data across populations to look for trends in diseases and risk factors. She says there are two numbers to look at in this ranking.
"One is the health outcomes ranking, which is a measure in their models of today's health. And the second number is a health factors ranking, which is allegedly a -- in their model -- a ranking of future health."
La Crosse County is ranked eigth for health factors. Although La Crosse County did drop 11 spots, health officials say the data is very similar to last year.
"Counties that are above us, a lot of them were below us last year. Some of them changed a lot over one year and some changed a little. There's not a lot of variability between the numbers between years and between counties so it's a really tight ranking system and we just fell on the lower end of the ranking system this year."
Rooney says the only two measures that got worse were obesity rate and alcohol use and adds that the county improved on its tobacco use.
Although on the report it says that adult smoking and excessive drinking data should not be compared to previous years.
People around La Crosse say being ranked around the top 33 percent is where they would expect the county to be.
In La Crosse, Zach Prelutsky, Fox 25/48 First News at Nine.
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