Third healthiest in state, Livingston County’s still too fat, and getting more sexually transmitted infections

The good news is that for the fourth year in a row, Livingston County ranks third in Michigan for the overall state of its health.

So says the 2019 County Health Rankings, which places Livingston County third overall out of Michigan’s 83 counties. The County Health Rankings rank nearly every county in the nation to show what is keeping people healthy or making them sick, and it shows health departments where to focus to create a healthier place to live, learn, work and play.

So Michigan’s fourth third-place showing is really, really good news, and I want you to hang onto that because there’s some not-so-good news, too.

But the good news first:

Livingston County is educated

• Livingston County’s high school graduation rate of 90 percent is a whopping 10 points higher than the state rate of 80 percent.

• The Livingston County rate of residents with some college education is one of the tops in the nation at 77 percent; Michigan’s rate is 68 percent.

Livingston County is fairly safe

While the rate of violent crime is trending slightly up, Livingston County’s rate of violent crime is well below that of the state and nation.

In 2014, there were 101 incidents per 100,000 Livingston County residents; in 2016, the rate shot up 30.69 percent to 132 per 100,000 residents. While that jump may seem scary, in Michigan that number of violent crimes per 100,000 people is 462, and the nationwide rate is 399 per 100,000 people.

Overall, we are pretty healthy

Livingston County has a high percentage of physically active adults, residents with health insurance coverage, and a higher rate of people receiving flu vaccinations compared to the state and national averages.

The rate of premature death is trending down, while the statewide and national rates are trending up.

The low birth-weight rate of 6 percent is also the best in the nation. For comparison’s sake, statewide the number is 8 percent.

But there’s some bad news:

We are still too fat

Though the obesity rate in Livingston County has dipped down a point, 27 percent of us need to shed some pounds.

The number of STIs we get is going up

Livingston County is trending worse for sexually transmitted infections. In 2007, there were 78 cases of chlamydia per 100,000 county residents. In 2015, that rate more than doubled to 192 per 100,000 county residents. I guess we can take solace in the fact that the rate for sexually transmitted infections statewide is nearly three times higher than ours, at 462.9 per 100,000 county residents.

We drive a lot, and we drive alone

As a perennial commuter community, it’s not all that surprising that we drive a lot. According to this report, 87 percent of Livingston County’s workers are driving to work solo, and 54 percent of those with long commutes are making them alone.

What can be done?

The Livingston County Health Department is addressing areas for improvement through the Livingston County Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). Dedicated CHIP teams cover 10 strategic issue areas and work to address issues including STIs, chronic disease and transportation. The CHIP can be viewed by clicking here.

There are many factors that play a role in how long and how well residents live, including education, income, housing and safety. These important factors are accessible for some people and very limited for others. To reduce these differences in health, or health disparities, departments need to know what gaps exist within their community. Health rankings give a starting point for fair change; so every resident has the opportunity to reach their full health potential.

Want to know more?

Check out the report. It’s a fascinating look at our health rankings. It’s also very user friendly. Click here for the report.

For more information, you can also visit www.countyhealthrankings.org or call LCHD at (517) 546-9850.

About The Livingston Post 1116 Articles
The Livingston Post is the only locally owned, all-digital information and opinion site in Livingston County, Mich. It was launched by award-winning journalists who were laid off from the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus by Gannett Co. Inc. in 2009.

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