Please note: health information was not available for 15 of the lower-population counties in the state.
10. Thayer County
Coming in at the 10th least healthy county in the state, Thayer County reports high numbers of people feeling that their health is poor or fair. Additionally, 52% of the population is at risk of exposure to dangerous drinking water as compared to an average of 8% in the rest of the state. The county seat is Hebron, and you'll also find Bruning and Alexandria here.
9. Lincoln County
Lincoln County, home to North Platte, has a 33% rate of adult obesity as compared to the Nebraska average of 29%. Their rate of preventable hospital stays is higher than average, but 79% report that they have ample access to exercise opportunities, which is definitely a positive for residents.
8. Box Butte County
Box Butte County in the panhandle is where you'll find Alliance and Hemingford. The county reports lack of adequate access to physicians and a high rate of preventable hospital stays; only 38% of residents say that there are enough opportunities for physical activity here.
7. Gage County
Gage County, of which Beatrice is the county seat, reports that a full 50% of its driving deaths are alcohol-related. The rates of adult smoking and heavy drinking here are well above the state and national average.
6. Scotts Bluff County
In Scotts Bluff County, where Scottsbluff and Gering are located, residents report feeling in poor physical health or poor mental health an average of 3.9 days per month, as compared to the state averages of 2.9 and 2.7, respectively.
5. Hitchcock County
Hitchcock County, home to Trenton, reports very low access to dentists and an unsatisfactory healthy food environment. Adult smoking and obesity are both high here, but heavy drinking and alcohol-related driving deaths are quite a bit lower than the state average.
4. Franklin County
Franklin County - where Franklin is the county seat - shows high rates of premature death. The state average is 5,792/100,000 people, and the rate in Franklin County is 9,659/100,000 people (adjusted for age and population). Of the driving-related deaths in the county, a whopping 100% were reported as alcohol-related.
3. Keith County
Keith County, where Ogallala is the county seat, reports their premature deaths (death before the age of 75) at 9,201/100,000 - the national average is 5,200 and Nebraska's average is 5,792.
2. Thurston County
In Thurston County, premature deaths weigh in at 13,148 - well over double Nebraska's average. Some of the most prevalent health problems here include adult obesity (41% of the population), adult smoking (34%), and a high child poverty level. Pender is Thurston County's county seat.
1. Kimball County
Kimball County, home to Kimball and Dix, is reported as the least healthy county in Nebraska. Residents here report feeling poorly either physically or mentally more days than the state average. Adult smoking, adult obesity, and alcohol-related driving deaths all contributed to the county's low health scores.
The information presented by County Health Rankings is meant to be a helpful motivation toward living healthier lifestyles. Do you live in any of these counties? What is your community doing to encourage resident health? Tell us about it in the comments.