Health Ranking Improves for Springfield-Greene County, Neighboring County Healthier

By Lindsay Clein , Daniel Shedd |

Published 03/26 2014 09:14PM

Updated 03/26 2014 10:12PM

GREENE COUNTY, Mo. -- While Greene County's health improves, a neighboring county ranks healthier.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released its annual rankings.  Out of 115 Missouri counties, Greene County ranked 40th and Christian County came in at number five on the list.

"It's always good news to do better," says Clay Goddard, the Assistant Director of Health for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.  "It's better than going the other direction."

Greene County earned a rank of 40th healthiest out of Missouri's 115 counties.  That's a five county improvement from last year.

"I think it shows progress is being made on significant issues," says Goddard.  "You take a look at policies we've made related to tobacco use and that's an example of public policy going in the right direction from a public health standpoint."

The rankings are based on things like access to health care, children living in poverty and air pollution.

"Obviously one of the big drivers for us not doing as well as some other counties was premature death," says Goddard.  "And we are going to continue to preach the issues we are always talking about."

Christian County ranked fifth best this year as well as last year.

"I think we work hard at it," says Christian County Presiding Commissioner Lou Lapaglia.  "We are proud.  We have a long way to go and we know it, but we are making efforts and every year it seems to get a little better."

Lapaglia says Christian County wants to work on access to seniors.

"Because being a rural area, they may not have access to medical care," he says.  "So that's one thing we are trying to work on-- trying to correct that."

He adds that being a rural county does have its advantages, like fresher air and less pollution.

"We really have a good health department and great leadership," says Lapaglia.  "They work hard to make sure when flu season comes, they get the notices out that it's free flu shots and things like that for those who can't pay for it.  I think it's a combination of everything, it's a priority."

You can find the full list, including where your county stands, by clicking here.

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