Western New Jersey

Hunterdon County ranked healthiest county in New Jersey

Hunterdon County ranked healthiest county in New Jersey

A national study has named Hunterdon County the healthiest county in New Jersey for the second straight year, and there's more to it than eating right and exercising.

The news is a pleasant surprise to the county's public health department.

"When we see these rankings, we actually reflect on years past of these programs and right now we are looking at those programs, thinking how can we improve them for this next generation as they become adults," said Tadhgh Rainey, Hunterdon County public health services director.

The report is conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"The county health rankings show us that there is not just one thing that makes us healthy or unhealthy," added Abbey Cofsky, from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "Rather there are multiple factors that influence how well we feel."

These include factors like education, obesity rates, smoking, access to health care, and access to places for exercise.

"Personally I'm a cyclist, so I think the roadways," said Flemington resident, Peach Hardy. "They keep them in great condition. Hunterdon County is wonderful with that."

The study shows 74 percent of people in Hunterdon County have access to exercise opportunities, 94 percent are high school graduates, and only seven percent of residents are uninsured.

"We work very closely with doctors in clinic settings," said Rainey. "Our nurses are intertwined with doctors throughout the community."

Access to doctors and plenty of places to work out are two contributing factors to winning the title.

But some say wealth equals health.

"It's no secret we're a fairly affluent county and that helps," added Rainey. "It gives people greater access, they have greater resources. They have cars to go to places."

"I think economics has a lot to do with it," said Lawrence Wissner from Flemington. "But I don't necessarily think that's the only thing that's important. People get out because it's pretty and they take care of themselves."

Workers say the goal now is making sure people without great wealth continue to have access to health care.

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