Sarasota ranks high for being healthy

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SARASOTA – A recent survey has declared Sarasota County as one of the healthiest counties in Florida. Of the state's 67 counties, Sarasota ranks 5th. So what goes into these numbers?

When you see all the walkers and joggers around town, you can tell Sarasota is a healthy area. But the actual survey is much more scientific.

Nicole Reagan says it's easy staying healthy in Sarasota.  "You have the bridge, parks where you can take the kids, I mean there's a lot to do," she says.

The survey by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation takes into account things like access to recreation, a low crime rate, drinking rates, obesity, and fast food availability. And if you think being an affluent community helps, you're right. The counties that rank lower have greater degrees of poverty, low education levels.

State Health Department's Kari Ellingstad says Sarasota has a lot of positives.  "A healthy community offers places to play and be active, and you have so many in Sarasota County. The new rowing facility is one," she said.

In fact the county's new rowing facility also got a boost this week. The state may allocate another $2.5 million in addition to the $5 million approved last year.

While Sarasota scored number five, DeSoto was 2nd healthiest in the region, followed by Manatee, Hardee and Charlotte Counties.

Last and first in the state in the state both came from North Florida: Union County ranked 67th while St. John's is number one.