Study: Ottawa healthiest county in Mich.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Ottawa County is the healthiest county in Michigan, a recent study found.

The fifth annual County Health Rankings from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute were released Wednesday. It ranked 82 of Michigan’s 83 counties from most to least healthy. Ottawa County came in No. 1.

Online: The complete results of the study

Positive rankings in categories for length and quality of life contributed to the overall No. 1 ranking, as did positive results in health behaviors and social and economic factors, the report shows.

A release from the Ottawa County Department of Public Health says the county can still improve on clinical care and physical environment, where it ranked seventh and 40th, respectively.

Kent County ranked 16th in the study. Higher ratings in length of life, health behaviors, clinical care, and social and economic factors contrasted lower rankings in the quality of life and physical environment categories.

The physical environment rating — in which Kent County ranked 48th — was the result of air pollution and “severe housing problems,” the Kent County Health Department said in a release.

The health department says some of the county’s problems include:

  • Obesity: About one third of residents are obese according to body mass index (BMI) standards
  • Poverty: 23% of children live in poverty (higher than the national benchmark of 13%)
  • 17% of Kent County adults admit to heavy or excessive drinking
  • Teen birth rate: 38 per 1,000 (higher than the national benchmark of 20 per 1,000)
  • Glucose screenings for Medicare recipients with diabetes

The health department says this is the second year in a row that Kent County as come in at No. 16. In 2010, the first year of the study, Kent County ranked 22nd.

The study ranked Leelanau County as the second-healthiest county and Clinton County as No. 3 this year.

Rankings of other West Michigan counties:

  • Allegan County: No. 6
  • Barry County: No. 15
  • Ionia County: No. 19
  • Mecosta County: No. 20
  • Montcalm County: No. 27
  • Branch County: No. 40
  • Cass County: No. 42
  • Kalamazoo County: No. 43
  • Van Buren County: No. 55
  • Newaygo County: No. 56
  • St. Joseph County: No. 59
  • Berrien County: No. 61
  • Oceana County: No. 66
  • Muskegon County: No. 67
  • Calhoun County: No. 78

Wayne County was ranked No. 82.

Keweenaw County in the Upper Peninsula was not rated.

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Online:

Ottawa County health reports

Ottawa County Department of Public Health Annual Report

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps News Release

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