SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Out of the 14 counties in Massachusetts, Hampden County ranked last in the latest health rankings by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The area scored poorly on tests of healthy behaviors, with high numbers of obesity, sexually transmitted infections, heavy drinkers and teen birth rates.
Dr. Andrew Balder who works out of Baystate's Mason Square Neighborhood Health Center told 22News there are many other reasons the Springfield area is struggling to stay healthy.
He explained, "From poverty to not just food access but the culture of food to exercise and the culture of non-exercise, environmental conditions air quality, housing quality, etc."
For those reasons, Franklin and Hampshire County did much better.
Not surprising to residents like Ann Royal, who lives in Granby.
She explained, "There are a lot more outdoor activities available all year round which is nice because we have so much land."
A coalition of Western Massachusetts hospitals is currently working on a community health survey to get more details on what's happening.
Dr. Balder explained, "It is in everyone's interest, ours and others to look at these factors that happen outside our walls that affect the health of individuals and communities. We need everybody, business, people, community groups, churches, you name it; everyone has skin in the game and should be there."