2013-04-04 / Front Page

County ranks 57th in health

Rankings illustrate healthiest of 82 counties, others needing work

LANSING – Schoolcraft County ranks 57 out of 82 counties for health, according to the recently released fourth annual County Health Rankings. The rankings, done by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, rank Michigan counties by determining which are actively working on improving health factors and outcomes.

For the second year in a row, Leelanau County was ranked as the number one healthiest county in Michigan. Wayne County fell to the unhealthiest county after remaining low for the last four years. While the numbers are not staggering, there continues to be a steady increase in the rates of adult obesity and physical inactivity in Michigan. Further, more babies are continually being born at a low birth weight.

The rankings allow Michigan counties to see where they can improve, and based on the change in rankings for many communities, Michigan counties have already begun working on health improvements.

“Michigan counties are already aware of the health issues that their communities face,” said James K. Haveman, director of the Michigan Department of Community Health. “These annual rankings allow Michigan’s local health departments to focus on the factors in their counties that need addressing because each community is different. I’m glad to see the rankings change each year with the various initiatives and the Department of Community Health will continue to support counties as they work to improve their residents’ health.”

The County Health Rankings rank the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states, using a standard way to measure how healthy people are and how long they live. The annual rankings include a snapshot of each county in Michigan with a color-coded map comparing each county’s overall health ranking. Nearly every county is ranked on health outcomes, how healthy we are, and on health factors, how healthy we can be. Communities and individuals are encouraged to visit the County Health Rankings website for information on their local health rankings.

“We all have a stake in creating a healthier community and no single sector alone can tackle the health challenges in any given community,” said Patrick Remington, MD, MPH, professor and associate dean at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Among the many health factors that researchers look at include rates of adult smoking, adult obesity, excessive drinking among adults, and teenage births; the number of uninsured adults, availability of primary care physicians, and preventable hospital stays; rates of high school graduation, adults who have attended some college. To see Michigan’s 2013 Rankings, visit www.countyhealthrankings.org/michigan.

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