Will County ranks in the top quarter of Illinois' healthiest counties, according to the results of a study released this week.
Will checked in as the 25th healthiest county out of the state's 102 counties, according to data from the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program, a joint effort between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute.
The fifth edition of the county health rankings, released Wednesday, allows each state to see how its counties compare on 29 factors that impact health, including smoking, high school graduation rates, access to healthy foods, unemployment and physical inactivity, according to a press release by the organizers.
Large gaps persist between the healthiest and unhealthiest counties, according to the release.
"The least healthy counties have twice the death rates and twice as many children living in poverty and teen births as the nation's healthiest counties," the release states.
Will County Health Department executive director John Cicero praised the project as offering a "valuable point in time snapshot" on the county's health.
"It illustrates that community health is shaped by a wide variety of factors beyond what occurs at our doctor's office, hospital or health clinic," he said in a statement. "Everyone plays a role in community health: educators, business leaders, hospitals, the faith community, elected officials—everyone has some key role to play in order to make the community a healthy place to live and work."
Among the individual indicators, Will ranked 18th in length of life and 49th in health behaviors, a category that includes data on smoking, obesity, access to physical activity and alcohol-impaired driving deaths, according to the rankings.
Woodford County, north of Bloomington and west of Peoria, was ranked as the state's healthiest county, while Alexander, the state's southernmost county, came in last in the rankings.
Cook County came in 75th, with Kendall claiming the number two spot. DuPage came in third, while Kane and DeKalb were 9th and 10th, respectively.
Among other Chicagoland counties, Grundy clocked in at 44th and McHenry was 14th, according to the data.
To learn more, go to countyhealthrankings.org.
"Every community can point to specific strengths and weaknesses that ultimately influence health," Cicero said. "The information contained in studies of this magnitude can help shape the formation of community partnerships that develop strategies capable of addressing priority health objectives."