RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Petersburg is ranked the least healthy area in Virginia, according to a report released today from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Petersburg, Galax, Covington, Martinsville and Hopewell are listed as the counties with the poorest health. The Crater Health District which includes Petersburg is encouraging healthy eating and participation in physical activity.

“The Crater Health District is working with locality leaders, organizations and community members to improve health outcomes for all people in our district,” said Alton Hart, Jr., MD, MPH, director, Crater Health District. “Many factors beyond medical care influence health. We look forward to using this year’s County Health Rankings data to focus on the unique needs of our area and build strategies towards meaningful change.”

The report lists Arlington, Loudoun, Falls Church City, Fairfax and Alexandria City as the healthiest counties in the Commonwealth.

“We at the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) are extremely proud that Arlington and the rest of the Northern Virginia region enjoy such good health, as recognized by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA.

The commissioner continued stating that there are many factors that affect public health and that the state of Virginia has made great strides in the last few years. However, he acknowledged that there is a healthcare gap in the Commonwealth, that officials must address in order to navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

The data that was used to gather the 2021 rankings are from 2019 and the years prior. This study does not reflect the impact of the pandemic or individual programs health districts cultivated in order to improve their communities.

For more information on the 2021 County Health Rankings, click here.