Miami-Dade Is One of the Healthiest Counties in America, Somehow

Are you 305 till you die? Because that might mean you'll be 305 for a long, long time. According to a new study, Miami-Dade is one of the healthiest counties not only in Florida but also in all of America. It's in the top 10 percent of healthiest counties overall across the United States and the fifth healthiest in Florida. Dade is also by far the healthiest large urban county in the state.

What's odd is that a second segment of the study analyzed indicators of good health, but Miami-Dade received only an average placement there. So somehow we're all living relatively long and healthy lives despite ourselves.

The findings come from rankings by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute. Here's a map of the healthiest and least healthy counties in America:

These rankings are based on "health outcomes" that take into account both length and quality of life. In Florida, Miami-Dade ranked the second highest for length of life behind only its ritzy neighbor to the west, Collier County. Dade ranked 20th overall for quality of life. "Quality of life" includes factors such as poor or fair health, poor physical health days, poor mental health days, and low birth weight.

In the "health indicators" category, Miami-Dade came in 25th out of Florida's 67 counties. Not particularly bad, but surprising considering its health outcomes ranking.

Interestingly, though, Dade ranked first in Florida for "health behaviors." That includes things like the rate of tobacco use, drug and alcohol abuse, diet and exercise, and sexual activity. So maybe that explains why Miamians live so long. Miami may be Vice City, but apparently we have our vices under control a lot better than the rest of this state.

Miami-Dade came in only 57th for clinical care, which includes both access to care and the quality of health care. We came in 40th for "social and economic factors," which include things like employment, income, and education. We also came in 57th for physical environment, which includes air quality, public transport, and housing.

So it's interesting that Miami-Dade ranks low in all of these other health indicator factors except for the actual behaviors we can personally control, and apparently that was enough to rocket us up to the status of one of the healthiest counties in the state.

Send your story tips to the author, Kyle Munzenrieder, or follow him on Twitter.

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