- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Arlington County is the healthiest county in Virginia while Tazewell County is at the bottom of the list, according to an annual report on the health of the nation’s counties and municipalities.

The sixth annual County Health Rankings released Wednesday ranks Albemarle County as the second healthiest county, followed by Fairfax, Loudoun, and York counties. Henry, Buchanan, Dickenson and Wise are among the least healthy counties.

Arlington, Loudoun and Fairfax counties have been among the healthiest counties in each of the survey’s six years.

Among municipalities, Alexandria is ranked first, followed by Manassas, Falls Church and Poquoson. At the bottom is Petersburg, followed by Martinsville, Hopewell and Danville.

Eight percent of adults in Arlington County and 10 percent in Alexandria reported poor or fair health, compared to 31 percent in Dickenson County, 29 percent in Tazewell and Buchanan counties and 19 percent in Petersburg. Statewide, 14 percent of residents reported poor or fair health.

Researchers at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin measured localities on 30 factors, including education, obesity, diet, exercise, teen births, smoking and alcohol-related traffic deaths.

Counties and municipalities ranked low have more teen births, more smokers and more alcohol-related traffic deaths. The healthiest counties have better access to recreational opportunities, higher college attendance and fewer preventable hospital stays, the report said.

Petersburg’s adult obesity rate, 36 percent, was twice as high as Arlington County’s rate. The statewide rate was 25 percent.

Nationwide, the annual rankings have served as a rallying point for change, Bridget Catlin, co-director of the survey, said in a news release.

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