JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — How healthy is your community? A recent report could add some insight.
The study from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation looked at health data from 2012 to 2014.
Here’s how mid-Michigan stacked up when you rank the overall health of the state’s 83 counties.
Ingham County ranked 56th, with Jackson County only slightly ahead at 55th.
Other parts of mid-Michigan did much better.
Clinton County came in second place, Eaton County 16th, and Hillsdale County ranking 27th.
As Katie Kincer walked through Jackson’s Cascades Park with her family, she said the county’s poor showing in the survey did not surprise her.
“I can see it around here, and they definitely need to do something about it,” Kincer said.
The survey comes up with rankings by looking at things like life expectancy, quality of life, and health behaviors.
But it also factors in the county’s social and economic health.
“55 is a little bit of an improvement from the previous year. But it’s not as good as we have been in the past,” said Jackson County Health Officer Richard Thoune.
Thoune said while the wellness of Jackson County is a work in progress, there have been improvements to clinical care and unemployment, which ups the quality of life in the county.
But he says officials need to focus on key issues.
“Certainly adult smoking and adult obesity are on the top of the list. We have a problem with excessive drinking as well. We also need to be more physically active,” Thoune said.
While people are ultimately responsible for their own health choices, the health officer believes the county should provide the framework.
“We don’t necessarily need another program or service, what we need to do is to focus our efforts on collective measures that can make a difference in the community,” Thoune said.
Kincer says more activities for families to get in shape could make a difference.
“I think they’re taking the initiative too. They’re building the park downtown and they’re doing a water park here and stuff. But there’s still a long road ahead,” Kincer said.
The health officer said while he expects some things to turn around in the next year, the county will also continue working on high school graduation rates, income inequality and violent crime.
Visit this link to view the full report: http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/app/michigan/2017/overview