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The Geography of Health in America

A new county-by-county report finds that blacks and Native Americans have the most dire health statistics in the United States.
Babies rest at a hospital in Bay Minette, Alabama, as their mothers participate in a group post-pregnancy session.
Babies rest at a hospital in Bay Minette, Alabama, as their mothers participate in a group post-pregnancy session.Jilian Mincer/Reuters

In 2016, a greater percentage of babies were born at low birthweight in Jackson County, Colorado, than anywhere else in the country.

That might not seem like such a big deal these days, with modern technology powerful enough to nurse babies who are born months premature back to health. But according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s annual County Health Rankings Report, we should think twice before dismissing the importance of underweight babies. Indeed, the 2018 Key Findings Report cautions that low birthweight (LBW) is an important signifier of long-lasting health discrepancies.