The county health rankings released every year by the university of Wisconsin take a statistical analysis of each counties' health. The rankings take into account a number of factors such as education rates, income level and access to healthy food. Dr. Gregory O'Keefe the Director of Public Health in Herkimer County says, "The beauty is that you have a number, a single number, but the ugliness of it you can't exactly say why that color is blue. It's a real combination of all those statistics."
The study looks at six major factors like mortality, health behavior and physical environment. But the study also goes deeper and investigates many sub-categories. "There are factors like what is the level of smoking in your community. What is your level of obesity? What is your level of diabetes and what is your death rate from heart attacks. All of those factors are added in to this."
Herkimer County made a significant jump from last year to this year moving up 12 spots. But Oneida and Otsego counties both fell over the past year. "We're happy that our numbers were a little bit better and if you look closely the things that we see are things that are really improvable. Things that are preventive and preventable. I mentioned smoking, smoking is just very, very important and we remain above the norm for New York State."