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New Study Ranks Cumberland Co. As Least Healthiest In State
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Cumberland & Atlantic Co. - A new study rates Hunterdon County as New Jersey's healthiest county, while Cumberland County rates as the least healthy.

A national study released on Tuesday ranks Cumberland and Atlantic Counties as two of the unhealthiest counties in the state.

"The rankings are a project funded by the Robert Johnson foundation and provide funding to the University of Wisconsin and every year they do a county health ranking throughout the nation, and every county is ranked against others within their state" says Patricia Diamond, Atlantic County Public Health Officer.

Atlantic County was ranked 17th out of 21 counties in New Jersey while Cumberland County was dead last.

But officials say the disappointing rankings don't come as a huge surprise considering the last few times these numbers were released.

"We have been low in rankings the last two times they have been put out and change is slow sometimes, these results don't happen overnight and the corrections and improvements to the health of our county are going to take some time" says George Sartorio, Public Health Officer, Cumberland County.

"You don't really see big changes from year to year because the survey is not every year, if it was every 4 or 5 you could really determine if there was a change" says Diamond.

The rankings aren't much of a shock to Cumberland County residents either who say "unhealthy" people are all over their town.

"We do have a lot of overweight people around here I'd say but you can't tell people what to eat you know"? says Wendy Gilman, Millville.

"It does not surprise me with all the fast food restaurants and a lot of overweight people. You don't see many people walking around exercising" says Edwin Hernandez, Millville.

Items that factored into the study included obesity, fast food, drinking and excessive smoking. All things county officials say they are trying to work with residents at to help turn these statistics around.

"We all need to take some responsibility in these numbers and so do the healthcare providers, healthcare agencies, community and partners and residents themselves too" says Sartorio.

"We really encourage people to take advantage of programs offered, and in fact the Atlantic County Government is joining us as recognizing April as national government health month and that is healthy family, healthy community and were offering a variety of health services" says Diamond.

The top five ranking of the least healthy counties in descending order were Camden, Atlantic, Hudson, Salem and Cumberland.

Video courtesy of 4/3/2012

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