Rankings on health

Apr 4, 2013 By Steven R. Peck

Fremont County gets slapped again from another time zone

Chalk up another low ranking for Fremont County on some out-of-state graduate student's research project. Presumably the "study" has attracted sufficient attention to the "researchers" that another sustaining grant will be forthcoming so that another report from another time zone can be generated next year making us look bad.

Whenever something is ranked, there will be a first place and a last place. That is the nature of ranking, and we Americans love lists. Of course, it's probably better to be higher in whatever is being ranked than lower, but often the distinctions between first and 10th, or in the case of this new list of "healthy" counties in Wyoming as viewed from Wisconsin, first and 23rd.

Naturally, Teton County is listed as Wyoming's "healthiest" county under the criteria established by the august body known as the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

There are plenty of people in Wyoming who would describe a lot of the Teton County life atmosphere as something other than "healthy," but much depends on definitions. In any case, it's unclear whether residents will be motivated by this news or simply experience another wave of irritation at having Jackson thrown in their faces as the ideal of Wyoming life.

Why might Fremont County be considered less healthy than Teton County? There are many more people here, for one thing. There are more schools, of varying performance levels. There are many more people of an older age, many more people who work in higher risk agriculture and energy jobs, many more people of lower incomes.

Ah, now it becomes clearer. The secret is revealed.

Want to rank higher on the Wisconsin county health list next year? Simple. Get rich, find a cushy job, and never get any older.

Thanks, Wisconsin. We'll get right on that.

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