Madison County is Idaho's healthiest, according to a study of statistics by researchers at the University of Wisconsin and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The county seat is Rexburg, home of BYU-Idaho. Low rates of smoking and excessive drinking bolstered the county's ranking.
Ada County ranked 7th, and Canyon County was 17th. Valley County ranked 2nd, but other Treasure Valley counties didn't fare as well: Gem (24th), Washington (25th), Elmore (27th), Owyhee (28th), Payette (31st) and Boise (40th). Numerous factors were used to calculate the rankings, including mortality, morbidity, health behaviors, clinical care, social/economic factors and physical environment.
Are the rankings important? "We look at it as a way to start the conversation about what makes a healthy community," said Dave Fotsch, public information officer for Central District Health Department. "We know it's an imperfect tool."
Adult obesity for Canyon County was 29 percent and 23 percent for Ada County; childhood poverty in Ada was 16 percent and 27 percent in Canyon.