(WWJ) What do you want first, the good news or the bad news?
Let’s start with the good: a new report on health rankings in Michigan from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute shows Oakland County is one of the healthiest places in Michigan. And there are plenty of healthy places in the northern and western parts of the state.
And now the bad: Wayne County is the least healthy place in all of Michigan, placing dead last among Michigan’s 83 counties.
Macomb County is near the middle of the pack, in 59th place.
The study takes into account length of life and quality of life. It also looks at other elements that help people live healthy lives, such as access to smoke-free environments, healthy food, clean water, community connections, educational and employment opportunities and safe housing.
It shows the healthiest 10 counties in Michigan are Ottawa followed by Clinton, Livingston, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Emmet, Midland, Washtenaw, Barry, and Oakland.
Overall, Michigan does slightly worse than the national average in several key areas of health, including overall poor health. About 16 percent of Americans report overall poor health, compared to 17 percent of Michiganders.
Twenty-one percent of Michigan residents are smokers, compared to 17 percent nationally, and 20 percent of state residents are “heavy drinkers” compared to 17 percent of people across the country.
Michigan residents also have a significantly higher rate of sexually transmitted disease compared to the national average. There were 295 newly diagnosed cases of chlamydia per 100,000 people nationally and 447 cases per 100,000 people in Michigan.
Get the details here.
Nationally, the report says premature deaths are rising because of an increase in deaths among people aged 15 to 44 from a variety of factors, including drug-related deaths which “are a clear driver of this trend.” In addition, drug deaths are especially growing in the 15 to 24 year old age group, where nearly three times as many people in this age group die by homicide, suicide or in motor vehicle crashes.
Washtenaw County, which ranked eighth in health outcomes statewide, said the numbers serve as a foundation for improvement.
“We have to bring more residents into our decision making processes. We need to hear about their lived experiences. Working together, we can build systems and practices that are fair, just and – healthier,” said Ellen Rabinowitz, health officer with Washtenaw County Public Health