New National Study Ranks Michigan Counties by Health

By: Lindsay Veremis Email
By: Lindsay Veremis Email

Clinton and Eaton county fall among Michigan's healthiest, according to a new national study released Tuesday.

The county-by-county ranking from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is based on mortality data and measures how healthy people are and how long they live.

"We were ecstatic, very excited to see that we've moved from number six to number three," Health Officer Kim Singh, with the Clinton County Health Department said.

Three, as in the third healthiest county in the state. That's according to the national County Health Rankings. The study looked at mortality rates in more than 3,000 counties nationwide and other factors that impact health.

"Things like high school graducation rates, low violent crime rates, low number of children living in poverty," Singh explained.

She says Clinton County excelled in those areas. The personal choices of its residents, things like not smoking, exercising and visiting the doctor regularly, also played a role.

"Prevention pays, that's really the take home message," Dr. Donald Lawrenchuk, Medical Director with the Jackson County Health Department said.

At number 53, Jackson County falls considerably lower on the list.

"We do realize we have some challenges ahead of us," Lawrenchuk said. "The good news is we have a plan in place here in Jackson County."

Lawrenchuk says the county has rolled out programs focused on obesity, smoking and alcohol abuse, among other things. He feels the study helps Jackson find focus.

"It tells us what work needs to be done," he said.

Wayne, Saginaw and Genesee were among the least healthy. Ingham County ranked 32 out of the 82 counties measured.

The study, in its third year, is often used by communities to identify challenges and improve their residents overall health.

"The County Health Ranking show us that much of what influences our health happens outside of the doctor's office," Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, with the foundation said. "In fact, where we live, learn, work and play has a big role in determining how health we are and how long we live."

Top 10 healthiest counties:
1. Leelanau
2. Ottawa
3. Clinton
4. Livingston
5. Washtenaw
6. Baraga
7. Emmet
8. Alger
9. Eaton
10. Grand Traverse

Bottom 10
1. Ontonagan
2. Wayne
3. Clare
4. Alcona
5. Lake
6. Genesee
7. Saginaw
8. Roscommon
9. Kalkaska
10. Oscoda


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