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W&M's Schroeder Center ranks top ten "Healthiest Communities" in Va

Poquoson City is the healthiest community in Virginia according to a study by the Schroeder Center for Healthcare Policy at the College of William and Mary. The Center released its ranking of Virginia’s healthiest communities today. Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Falls Church City, Arlington County, Powhatan County, Highland County, York County, Stafford County and Fauquier County rounded out the top ten. Communities were evaluated based on 14 types of risk factors and outcomes – including prevalence of smoking, motor vehicle deaths, lack of health insurance, poverty, activity limitations and cancer deaths. The ranking is in its first year.

“You look at these results and ask yourself ‘What is it about these localities that make them the healthiest communities in Virginia?’” said Louis Rossiter, Director of the Schroeder Center. “Are the healthiest communities doing something different than other communities to be on top? We are continuing the analysis to understand whether some communities in Virginia develop public policies that increase their capacity to be healthier by these measures. Being a healthy community is not all about who chooses to live there. Localities have the ability to affect the health of their citizens.”

The rankings were determined based on an overall health index score. The index score is a composite of various health indicators based on recent data from the Virginia Department of Health, the National Center for Education statistics, and the Virginia State Police. Indicators include death rates related to cancer, heart disease, and overall mortality as well as economic and behavioral indicators such as rates of poverty, obesity, and smoking. The methodology used to compile the index was a modified version of that used by the United Health Foundation’s 2006 edition of “America’s Health Rankings,” which ranked all 50 states.

The Schroeder Center for Healthcare Policy was established in 2003. Its mission is to support students, faculty and programs in public policy on issues related to healthcare. It is dedicated to providing a full range of research, education and service to improve the financing and delivery of medical services.

For additional information about the study please contact Lou Rossiter, Director of the Schroeder Center for Healthcare Policy at 757.221.1913. The top-ten rank and a detailed description of the methods and sources of the data are available online at

Schroeder Center for Healthcare Policy: Ten Healthiest Virginia Communities

1. Poquoson City 2. Fairfax County 3. Loudoun County 4. Falls Church City 5. Arlington County 6. Powhatan County 7. Highland County 8. York County 9. Stafford County 10. Fauquier County