Hampden County ranks poorly in new public health rankings

The area's public health community will meet Friday at 10:00AM

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – New public health rankings are disappointing for Hampden County.

Hampden County came in last; 14th out of 14 counties. Berkshire County was 12th, Franklin County was 10th, and Hampshire County was 5th.

Despite having access to award-winning hospitals, Hampden County ranks poorly in several key health categories, including premature death, teen births, children in poverty, violent crime, smoking, obesity, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Springfield Public Health Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris told 22News what work needs to be done; “In many places in Hampden County, we’re dealing with a high poverty rate. One of the other things we know is access to fresh, affordable foods is expensive, and certainly our obesity rate is one of the things that really does concern us.”

Caulton-Harris told 22News that the area’s public health community will meet Friday at 10:00 a.m. at the municipal offices to discuss ways to improve their ranking.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study looks into several broad health categories, including quality of healthcare, economic factors, and the physical environment.