Study shows health disparities by county in Minnesota

Outcomes in Mahnomen are much different than Carver

Sloane Martin
March 20, 2019 - 5:36 am
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Where you live in Minnesota has an impact on how well and how long you live, according to a study released Tuesday from the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"Someone in Mahnomen County is about three to four times more likely to die prematurely, to die before age 75 than someone in Carver (County)," Kate Konkle, associate researcher with the UW Population Health Institute, said. "That's definitely concerning that even in the same state we see some significant differences."

There's a sharp divide between Northern Minnesota, and Twin Cities suburbs. Carver and Scott Counties top the list of the healthiest in Minnesota. But rural, northern counties, particularly those with higher Native American populations, fared the worst, like Mahnomen. 

countyhealthrankings.org

The study also evaluates children living in poverty as an indicator of health outcomes. Konkle cites the data that found one in 25 children in Carver County live in poverty, while about one in three in Mahnomen County do.

The study looked at quality of life measures such as access to healthy food, exercise and healthcare, as well as factors like community safety and affordable housing.

The study recommends county governments and local institutions like schools, hospitals and small businesses come together to develop a solution.

"Every community has great things happening so it's looking not just at what's not working, but what's already working and how do you build onthat," Konkle said.