The latest County Health Rankings report shows that Ottawa County is still the healthiest place in the state.
At the top of the list, it still shows more than one-of-every-four people is obese and 13-percent of children live below the poverty line, which is more than double from ten years ago. Kristina Weighmink, the Communications Specialist with Ottawa County's Department of Public Health told WOOD Radio they'll work on deficiencies and are proud of the overall result. "We're a very collaborative and invested community. We work together to help address social and health inequities."
Allegan County is in 9th place. Kent holds on to 16th place in these rankings, which result from a national study, broken down by states, from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin. KCHD Deputy Health Director Teresa Branson told WOOD Radio there are reasons next year's report will be better. "The healthcare marketplace, the Affordable Care Act is in existence. More and more people should be able to take advantage of some of the more preventative type of screenings."
Muskegon County is near the bottom in Michigan at 67th place, with well more than one-third of the population obese, a major increase in the past three years. More children are in poverty and nearly a quarter of the population smokes and drinks to excess. Still, Public Health Director Ken Kraus told WOOD Radio there's information to hang onto in these findings. "In four categories that are measured, we are actually in the top ten percent of counties in the United States." Kraus added there is room for improvement and some factors are getting better.
Find your county's ranking here: http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/app/michigan/2014/overview