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County ranks No. 1 in state for overall health
A county in the area ranks No. 1 in an annual report measuring health factors to provide a comparison of 82 counties across the state.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute released the sixth-annual County Health Rankings and Roadmaps today, identifying Ottawa County as the healthiest county in Michigan.
The annual ranking measures the health of counties across the nation with the purpose of informing communities of the many factors influencing health and to help local agencies, health providers, business leaders and community organizations develop strategic initiatives to impact the quality of life for residents.
Each of the 82 counties in the state has a ranking based on health outcomes and health factors, which represent a weighted summary of how healthy a community is and what influences the overall health of the county.
The report ranks Ottawa County first for health outcomes — or how "healthy" a county is — based on length of life and quality of life and second for health factors, which comprise a number of health behaviors and socio-economic factors: adult smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, unemployment rate, violent crime rate and academic achievement levels.
Lisa Stefanovsky, health officer with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health, said the ranking is a chance to highlight the collaborative effort in the county.
Stefanovsky said the report is "a great opportunity to show how Ottawa County’s community members, hospitals, schools and agencies partner together — all contributing to our number-one rank."
Although the county has improved or maintained 85 percent of the 35 indicators comprising the ranking since 2014, the state still ranks 34th in the nation.
Several areas providing an opportunity for improvement in the county include access to primary care, teen pregnancy rate and binge or heavy drinking.
Other West Michigan counties
For overall health outcomes, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute rank Allegan No. 13, Kent County No. 17, Ionia No. 20, Montcalm No. 28, Kalamazoo No. 37 and Muskegon No. 65.
In terms of ranking for overall health factors, the report ranks Kent County No. 12, Kalamazoo No. 17, Allegan No. 21, Ionia No. 24 and Muskegon No. 66.