Summit County continues to perform a little below average in the state when it comes to healthy living.

The community finished 50th out of 88 Ohio counties in the new “County Health Rankings & Roadmaps” report released Wednesday.

Summit inched up two spots from last year.

But it’s trending in the wrong direction when it comes to premature deaths, adult obesity, sexually transmitted diseases, mammography screenings and children living in poverty, the report says.

The study also highlighted two positive local health trends: Air pollution and preventable hospital stays are declining.

The eighth annual study, done by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, determines the rankings for counties nationwide. The researchers use a variety of data to come to its conclusions, including tobacco use, exercise, access to medical care, educational levels, income, safety and housing conditions.

Counties use the results to spot positive and negative trends and identify areas for improvement.

“Creating a healthy community takes everyone,” said Kate Konkle, an associate researcher with the Population Health Institute.

Delaware, Geauga, Putnam, Union and Medina were the top five healthiest counties in Ohio, in that order. They also happen to be five of the wealthiest communities in the state based on median household income.

The bottom five were all located in southern Ohio, in order: Jackson, Gallia, Scioto, Adams and Pike.

“No matter where you are, socioeconomic status and where you live come into play,” said Nicholas Cascarelli, commissioner of the Wayne County Health Department in Wooster.

Wayne was 12th in the state. Other Akron-area counties and their statewide rankings were: Portage (27th) and Stark (45th).

The two biggest contributors to people being healthy are the socioeconomic factors and health behaviors, Konkle said.

The socioeconomic category includes educational level, children living in poverty, income and violent crime. Meanwhile, health behaviors include obesity, excessive drinking, smoking and access to healthy foods.

At 15th in the state, Summit ranked high for access to clinical care.

“We live in a health-care mecca,” Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said. “We’re very fortunate where we live in the world. We have world-class care here.”

The access to care, though, doesn’t make up for poor showings in the categories of health behaviors (55th), socioeconomic (51st) and physical environment (87th), which includes air pollution and housing conditions.

Summit ranked 62nd for quality of life.

“Our rankings have improved but few measures show any real change,” Skoda said. “That either means they rank without taking the margins of error into account or others got worse while we stayed about the same. Most of our indicators have overlapping margins of error compared to last year, meaning they aren’t statistically significant even if the estimates went up or down.”

Despite the county’s overall ranking, it fared well when compared to other large urban counties in the state.

It bested Cuyahoga (65th), Hamilton (58th), Lucas (69th), Mahoning (71st) and Montgomery (77th). Franklin ranked 49th.

For more details and to check out all the rankings, go to www.countyhealthrankings.org.

Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ .