Franklin third highest in state for premature deaths

Published 3:26 pm Monday, April 11, 2011

FRANKLIN—The City of Franklin has the third highest number of premature deaths among Virginia’s 132 localities.

The city’s residents also have the fourth poorest health and ranks 110th from the top for low birth weights, according to County Health Rankings.

This collection of 50 reports – one per state – helps community leaders see that where one lives, learns, works and plays influences one’s health and its longevity, according to the project’s website.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is collaborating with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute to develop these rankings for each state’s counties.

Amal Patel, an epidemiologist with Western Tidewater Health District who investigates diseases and outbreaks, said factors attributing to Franklin’s results include smoking, alcohol use, poor diet, lack of exercise and risky sexual behavior.

Isle of Wight County is the 32nd healthiest out of 132 localities. It has the 38th lowest number of premature deaths and is the 38th best when it comes to low birth weights.

Southampton County  ranked more toward the middle. It’s considered the 77th healthiest locality and has the 77th lowest rate for premature deaths and ranks 68th for low birth weights.