Ottawa County ranks #1 as the healthiest county in Michigan and has held that place since 2014, according to the 2018 County Health Rankings (CHR). The rankings show us where we live matters to our health and good health is influenced by many factors beyond medical care including jobs, housing, education, poverty and more. Ottawa County maintained or improved in 69 percent of the 35 measures, and did as well or better than Michigan in 85 percent of the 35 measures. However, Ottawa County does not compare favorably to the state or to top counties in the area for access to primary care (medical, dental and mental health providers). The county has consistently had fewer providers for the size of its population, but despite this, Ottawa County compares favorably in many health outcomes.
Noteworthy, the CHR findings coincide with the recently revealed Ottawa County Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) results, which states obesity, as well as poor mental health and access to mental health care providers, as ongoing concerns.
“Ottawa County has all the social and community characteristics that distinguish a community as healthy. We have fantastic partnerships that enable us to achieve healthier outcomes,” said Marcia Mansaray, epidemiologist with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health.
Ottawa County’s #1 rank has six sub-rankings: Length of Life, Quality of Life, Health Behaviors, Clinical Care, Social and Economic Factors and Physical Environment. The county maintained or improved in four of the six sub-rankings. The exceptions were Clinical Care and Physical Environment.
Ottawa County’s Strengths:
• Longer life span
• Lower teen birth rate
• Fewer babies born at a low birthweight
• Fewer children in poverty
• Very low unemployment
• Less inequality among the highest and lowest incomes