According to a national study, Livingston County remains one of the healthiest counties in the state, while Michigan as a whole has issues that still need to be addressed.

The 2019 County Health Rankings are compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. They show that for the 4th straight year Livingston County ranked 3rd out of Michigan’s 83 counties, behind only Leelanau and Ottawa. The rankings are compiled from data collected across the county which is then weighed, standardized, and organized into two categories; health outcomes and health factors. Health outcomes looks at length and quality of life. The health factors category measures health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and the physical environment.

Areas where Livingston County residents excelled include life expectancy, which is 80.8 years on average, and low percentages of residents experiencing poor physical or mental health. Livingston County residents also have higher-than-average percentages of those with health insurance, those receiving flu vaccinations and women who get annual mammograms.

The report also highlighted areas still in need of improvement, including child poverty, which stood at 6%. While still lower than the state and national averages, the long-term trend is increasing. Also in need of improvement was the high rate of adult smokers and adults who are obese.

The report also looked at child poverty statewide, noting that 48% of kids were living in a household that spends more than half of its income on housing, making it difficult for families to afford other essentials that contribute to good health, such as healthy food, medicine, or transportation to work or school. Robert Gordon, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director, said, "When it comes to health outcomes, it’s not always genetic code that most influences how healthy we are. Sometimes it boils down to zip code.” County by county, severe housing cost burden ranges from 9 to 20% of households. In Livingston County, it stood at 10%.

You can get a look at the complete report through the link below. (JK)