Oakland County improves health ranking for third year in a row

Oakland County remains one of the top 20 healthiest counties in Michigan, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute's County Health Rankings report released recently. Oakland County ranks 16th out of Michigan's 82 counties in overall health outcomes, improving from 17th in 2011 and 18th in 2010. The county also measures up well for overall key factors that affect health with a ranking of 6th out of 82.

The rankings, based on the latest data available for each county, is the only tool of its kind that measures the overall health of each county in all 50 states on the multiple factors that influence health.

"Public health has a critical role in making our communities healthier," states Kathy Forzley, Oakland County Health Division (OCHD) Health Officer / Manager. "These rankings continue to show us that where we live, learn, work and play influences our health. They help identify barriers, showcase what we are doing well and target where improvement is needed."

"Creating initiatives that promote active and healthy lifestyles such as The Brooksie Way, Brooksie Way Minigrants, and Count Your Steps is among the priorities of my administration," said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. "Those efforts combined with a vigorous public health program are making Oakland County a healthier place to work and live."

Oakland County has improved in 14 areas such as overall health outcomes, mortality, adult smoking, teen births, air pollution, mammogram screenings and violent crime. However, action is needed for instance in the areas of adult obesity, physical inactivity, excessive drinking, sexually transmitted infections, and children in poverty.

"Oakland County continues to improve in many areas and we are pleased to improve our overall health rank," states Forzley. "But there is still community work to be done in other areas. This information helps out community develop new program and enhance existing services with a local perspective."

The rankings use a standard way to measure how healthy people are and how long they live. Researchers assess health outcomes using these five measurements: the rate of people dying before age 75, the percent of people who report being in fair or poor health, the numbers of days people report being in poor physical and poor mental health, and the rate of low-birth weight infants. Also considered are health factors that affect people's health within four categories: health behavior, access to and quality of clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment.

OCHD has a variety of programs and services that support healthy lifestyles by preventing the spread of disease; ensuring a safe and clean environment; promoting and encouraging healthy behaviors; preparing for emergencies; reducing the threat of diseases; improving infant health and increasing accessibility of health services.

For all Oakland County specific data links to the County Health Rankings website or information on OCHD services, visit www.oakgov.com/health.

Published: Wed, Apr 11, 2012


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