The online rankings, available at www.countyhealthrankings.org, include snapshots of U.S. counties with a color-coded map that compares each county's overall health with other counties in each of the 50 states. Researchers used the latest data available for each county, ranging from 2000 to 2008, to develop rankings.
Overall, the rankings show that people who live in healthier counties tend to have higher education levels, are more likely to be employed, have access to more health care providers, and have more access to healthier foods, parks, and recreational facilities.
Otsego County ranked 35 of 84, compared with other counties in Michigan. Overall health was measured by death and illness rates in the county. The County Health Rankings also show how Otsego County ranked on individual factors that influence its overall health ranking. For example, Otsego County has strengths in the area of critical care, which includes factors such as the proportion of uninsured adults, preventable hospital stays, and hospice use in the county. The rankings also indicate Otsego County is at risk (ranking 70 of 84) in the health behavior section, which includes adult smoking, adult obesity, and motor vehicle crashes.
"These rankings demonstrate that health happens where we live, learn, work, and play," said Joshua Meyerson, MD, Medical Director for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. "Much of what influences how healthy we are and how long we'll live happens outside the doctor's office."
"All of us--the medical community, public health officials, government and business leaders, educators, and media--must play a role in transforming our communities," Meyerson said.
The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For additional information regarding County Health Rankings, visit www.countyhealthrankings.org.