New report highlights health gaps among state counties

Details strategies for improvement –

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 November 11, 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

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

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.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation  

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. They strive to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook

About the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute 

The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute advances health and well-being for all by developing and evaluating interventions and promoting evidence-based approaches to policy and practice at the local, state, and national levels.  The Institute works across the full spectrum of factors that contribute to health.  A focal point for health and health care dialogue within the University of Wisconsin-Madison and beyond, and a convener of stakeholders, the Institute promotes an exchange of expertise between those in academia and those in the policy and practice arena.  The Institute leads the work on the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and manages the RWJF Culture of Health Prize. For more information, visit


Submitted by Kristina Wieghmink


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s