New Report Highlights Health Gaps Among State Counties

New report highlights health gaps among state countiesDetails strategies for improvement –

Ottawa County—There are substantial health differences among Michigan counties, and eliminating those differences could prevent more than 7,800 premature deaths every year, according to a State Health Gaps report released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI).

The report also looked at a total of 30 important factors that contribute to how long and how well people live, and found that in Michigan opportunities for health vary widely from county to county. In 2015, Ottawa County ranked 1st out of 82 counties in Michigan for healthy people, according to the sixth annual County Health Rankings

If every county in Michigan did as well as the counties in the state
that performed best on these important health factors, there could be:

•  287,000 fewer adult smokers
•  294,000 fewer adults who are obese
•  259,000 fewer adults who drink excessively
•  167,000 fewer people who are uninsured
•  180,000 more adults, ages 25-44, with some education beyond high school
•  79,000 fewer people who are unemployed
•  186,000 fewer children in poverty
•  34,000 fewer violent crimes
•  181,000 fewer households with severe housing problems

Teenage girl eating dinner with family --- Image by © Laura Doss/Corbis

Teenage girl eating dinner with family — Image by © Laura Doss/Corbis

The Health Gaps report is one of 50 released today. Each identifies significant gaps in opportunities for good health among counties within every state. Each state report details how well the healthiest counties do; the difference that could be made if every county had the same chance to be healthy; and strategies to close the gaps between the healthiest and least healthy places. The full report for the state of Michigan can be found at
The Michigan Health Gaps Report is a product of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program. The program offers data, tools, and resources to help communities throughout their journey to build a Culture of Health.