The cheese curds at the Pine County Fair sure are delicious, but maybe we should all get the small bag this year.

In 2019 Pine County ranked 79th out of the 87 Minnesota counties in health factors and outcomes measured each year by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

The survey was first taken in 2010, and Pine County was ranked 78th. It improved to 63rd in 2011 and 57th in 2012. In 2013 it dropped to 71st, fell again in 2014 to 76th, to 80th in 2015 and to 82nd in 2016. It rose to 82nd in 2016, 78th in 2017 and 73rd in 2018.

In good news, Pine County was 7% lower than the Minnesota average for excessive drinking and had lower air pollution than the state average. average. Pine County residents had fewer days of poor mental health and a lower rate of sexually transmitted infections. Pine County’s high school graduation rate was 83%, the state average.

However, Pine County had 38% adult obesity compared to the state average of 28%. Physical inactivity was at 26% compared to the state average of 19%. Pine County had more preventable hospital stays, fewer flu vaccinations and more injury deaths. Pine County also had 17% of children in poverty compared to the state average of 12%.

In the region, Chisago County ranked 36th in the survey, Isanti County ranked 43rd, Carlton County ranked 73rd, Kanabec County ranked 75th, Mille Lacs County ranked 78th and Aitkin County ranked 82nd.

The eight counties ranked worse than Pine County in 2015 were: (in order) Grant, Clearwater, Aitkin, Beltrami, Norman, Wadena, Cass and Mahnomen.

County health rankings are carried out each year by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The County Health Rankings are available for viewing at www.countyhealthrankings.org.

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