The 2019 County Health Rankings were released mid-March with Eaton County ranking high on overall health, 14th out of 83 Michigan counties for Health Factors and 21st for Health Outcomes, putting the county in the top 25 percent of Michigan counties, according to a Barry Eaton District Health Department news release.
In the past five years, Eaton County’s overall health outcome ranking was within the range of 16th to 21st in the state. The overall health factor ranking stayed between 13th and 16th in the state.
The rankings are based on a model of population health that focuses on many factors that, if improved, can help make communities healthier places to live, learn, work, and play. The Health Outcomes are based on the sickness and death a county is experiencing, while the Health Factors are based on a variety of measures that can affect future health.
The rankings show where Eaton County is doing well and provides information about what is working: The county is strong in the areas of Clinical Care and Social and Economic Factors, where it ranked 17th and 14th, respectively. The report can be used to build on successes and encourage community leaders to take action and create programs and policy changes in areas that need improvement.
* The Eaton County Great Start Collaborative is working to increase social support to parents, reduce child poverty and increase school readiness to improve educational outcomes. Visit https://www.eatonresa.org/services/eaton-great-start/ for more.
* Rankings show the county is at risk for poor health when it comes to behaviors that affect health; smoking, obesity and physical inactivity, where it ranked 28th in the state.
*Rankings also show that Eaton County needs to do more to improve health behaviors and aspects of the physical environment that discourage physical activity. Potential steps include more effort for substance abuse and obesity prevention and more sidewalks for more options for physical activity.
The rankings also highlight the importance of the physical environment to health: Eaton County ranked poorly for physical environment, 48th in the state. The score includes measures of air pollution, drinking water violations, severe housing problems, and driving commutes. The ranking was partly driven by municipal drinking water system violations, which were appropriately reported and addressed. The example shows why water providers and regulatory agencies monitor and oversee municipal drinking water systems.
Some steps being taken to improve the health of county residents:
*The Eaton Rapids Health Alliance is an Eaton Rapids based coalition improving health by increasing physical activity and access to healthy foods, improving access to mental health resources, improving safety, and decreasing smoking and substance use. Visit https://www.eatonrapidshealthalliance.org/ for more.
*The Eaton County Substance Awareness Advisory Group focuses on improving health by reducing the negative effects of alcohol and substance misuse, tobacco use, and prescription drug misuse. Visit https://www.facebook.com/ECSAAG/ for more.
Everyone in the community has a stake in being healthy. Working together, Eaton County residents can make their community a healthier place to live, learn, work, and play. For more on 2019 County Health Rankings at www.countyhealthrankings.org.