COLUMBIA — Boone County was ranked the No. 10 healthiest county in Missouri.
Of the 114 counties in Missouri, Christian County, which is located in the southwestern corner of the state, was the healthiest.
The study, conducted by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, uses a combination of national statistics to rank counties. Among other data, they use vital statistics and census data, as well as phone surveys and reports from the health department in the state.
The study combined the data to rate health based on factors that would cause premature death and low birth weights.
A few of Boone County's health factors caught Patrick Remington, the associate dean for public health and professor of population health sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, by surprise.
"Boone County does well in almost all factors across the board. ... The air quality is especially good," he said.
However, Boone County is below national averages in excessive drinking, adult smoking and adult obesity.
Remington said Boone County has "a ways to go" if it wants to rank in the top 10 percent of healthiest counties in the country. In order to do that, it needs to lower its total of potential life lost per 100,000 people under age 75.
"Potential life lost" means if a person dies at age 50, for example, that contributes 25 years to the total of potential life lost, according the study's website.
Boone County has about 6,247 years of potential life lost compared to the national average of 5,564, according to the study.
Pemiscot County, which is in the southeastern most corner of the state, was the least healthy.