Happy New Year everyone! Was one of your resolutions to be healthier or more fit? These counties seem to have it covered. This list was compiled based on an analysis released a few months back by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The results are based on a number of factors including length of life, quality of life, health behaviors, access to healthcare, social and economic factors, and physical environment which includes water and air quality.
1. Hunterdon County
This county has topped the list for 6 years in a row, with the highest average life span in the state of New Jersey. Smoking and adult obesity rates were considerably lower than the state average, and a higher percentage of residents reported exercising regularly. This county is home to numerous charming towns including Flemington, Clinton, Lambertville and Frenchtown. The Hunterdon County Art Museum is pictured.
2. Somerset County
This county reports the lowest rate of excessive drinking in the state, a longer average lifespan, and a lower percentage of uninsured residents. This county is home to Duke Farms in Hillsborough, a lovely place to be active, and Far Hills, one of the wealthiest towns in New Jersey. The above photo was taken in Basking Ridge.
3. Morris County
This county has a low teen birth rate, low violent crime rate, and a longer life span than much of the state. The parks department is very important here, encouraging residents to get active and enjoy the outdoors. The county is home to architecturally stunning Mountain Lakes and larger cities including Parsippany-Troy Hills and Morristown.
4. Bergen County
One of the wealthiest counties in New Jersey, Bergen County provides plenty of hiking opportunities at Palisades Interstate Park, pictured, and Ramapo Valley Reservation in Mahwah. Air and water quality here are slightly better than the state average and smoking and obesity rates are lower. Larger cities include Hackensack, Paramus, Fort Lee and Ridgewood.
5. Monmouth County
Residents here have easy access to exercise opportunities, perhaps they're spending time surfing at the beach? Babies born in Monmouth County tend to be healthier as well with a lower premature birth rate than the state average. The quality of life is also higher than average, and it's no surprise with charming towns like Red Bank, Asbury Park, Long Branch and Manasquan. With a laid back lifestyle and easy access to NYC, the county is a celeb favorite.
6. Middlesex County
Middlesex County is home to New Brunswick, which is often referred to as the "Health City." The headquarters of pharmaceutical and medical supply company, Johnson & Johnson can be found here. Smoking and drinking rates are low and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School is located in the county. Other large cities in Middlesex include Edison and Old Bridge.
7. Sussex County
The stunning Sussex County is home to portions of the Kittatinny Mountain Range and Appalachian Trail. There are endless outdoor opportunities from hiking to biking, and skiing to rafting on the Delaware River. The county has a significantly lower rate of children living in poverty than the state average. Larger towns include Newton, Franklin and Vernon.
8. Burlington County
Burlington is pretty much on par with state averages for life expectancy and quality of life, though the percentage of uninsured residents is significantly lower than the rest of New Jersey. Home to Fort Dix and McGuire Airforce base, perhaps our physically fit military personnel have something to do with the county's higher health rankings. Larger cities include Mt. Holly and Evesham.
9. Mercer County
Mercer County is home to our state capital, Trenton, and portions of the Delaware and Raritan canal. Mercer county has some of the cleanest drinking water in New Jersey and above average access to medical care. Home to great schools like Princeton and TCNJ, larger cities include Hamilton and Ewing.
10. Union County
Union County ranks #7 out of New Jersey's 21 counties for length of life. The smoking rate is slightly below average and the access to exercise opportunities is significantly above average. Larger towns include Elizabeth, Scotch Plains, Westfield and Mountainside. You'll find several golf courses and the Watchung Reservation here.
11. Warren County
Located on the Delaware River, Warren County is home to a portion of the Appalachian Trail. While the smoking rate is above average, outdoor activities and clean drinking water help place this county at #11. Larger cities include Hackettstown, Washington, Hope, Blairstown and Stewartsville.