By Jessica Mathews /

According to a national study, Livingston County continues to remain one of the healthiest counties in the state – although there are still issues that need to be addressed.

The 2022 County Health Rankings were released and Livingston County is ranked third again overall, out of Michigan’s 83 counties. The rankings are a result of compiled data from nearly every county in the United States. Prior to the pandemic pause, 2019 marked the 4th straight year that Livingston County ranked 3rd overall.

The Livingston County Health Department says the data demonstrates what is keeping people healthy or making them sick, and shows where to focus efforts to create a healthier community.

A press release, attached, states good health allows people to fulfill their potential and thrive, but health is influenced by many factors beyond medical care including housing, education, and employment. Those factors are accessible for some people but very limited for others.

To reduce those differences in health, or health disparities, officials say they need to know what gaps exist within the local community. The rankings are said to give “a starting point for change, so Livingston County can become an even healthier place to live, learn, work, and play”.

The rankings highlight areas where the County has done well in promoting residents’ health and areas where improvements can be made. Similar to prior years, the Department says the rankings show that Livingston County has a high percentage of physically active adults, a high percentage of residents with health insurance coverage, and a higher rate of people receiving flu vaccinations compared to the state and national averages.

Areas that need improvement include the adult obesity rate, the rate of adult smokers, substance abuse rates, and transportation in both length of commute and driving alone to work.

The Department says it is actively working to address the areas for improvement through participation in community collaborations/workgroups and through community health improvement planning with local health system partners.

The identified areas for improvement will also be considered during the development of our next Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). The current CHIP was originally set to conclude at the end of 2020, but was extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photos: Livingston County Trails Plan.