By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — New figures list Carver County as the healthiest in the state of Minnesota.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation just released its annual health rankings, which showed Carver County atop all other counties for health outcomes, and also listed Olmsted County at the top of the list for health factors.

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The foundation explained health outcomes represent “how healthy counties are within the state,” whereas health factors represent “an estimate of the future health of counties as compared with other counties within a state,” based on health behaviors, clinical care, and other environmental factors.

Carol Colburn has lived in Chanhassen for 30 years. She says it’s the walkability of Carver County that makes her feel healthier.

“What I love is I can walk to everything,” she said. “I walk to the dentist, I walk to the grocery stores, I walk to Target, everywhere.”

Carver County was also named one of the happiest places in the country in 2015. Denny Laufenburger is the mayor of Chanhassen.

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“One of the exciting things about Carver County is we are home to Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia, which has been there as long as I’ve been alive,” he said. “That acts as a cornerplace for people who choose to take care of themselves.”

The other counties ranked among the top five in health outcomes were Scott, Red Lake, Washington and Stevens counties. Hennepin County ranked 38th out of 87, and Ramsey 64th.

The lowest ranking counties were Mahnomen, Clearwater, Cass, Beltrami, and Itasca.

The report showed, nationwide, premature death rates were on the rise, owing to an increase in deaths among those ages 15-44. The report said that the drug overdose epic is the leading cause of death among those ages 24-44, and “is a clear driver of this trend.”

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The foundation said that their findings show drug overdose trends shifting significantly in the suburbs, which have in the last decade gone from displaying the lowest rates of premature death due to overdoses to the highest rates.

Kate Raddatz