County one of healthiest

Washtenaw County was ranked first among Michigan counties in “health factors” March 20, for the fourth straight year by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“That’s interesting because health care in general in this country is in a pretty poor state and for anybody to be able to excel at it is quite impressive,” Eastern Michigan University student Zach Koenig said. “With most people in Michigan unable to afford decent health care, this is a surprising result.”

Some areas in the county of Washtenaw are healthier than others, said a press release. For example, Bridgewater Township, Saline and Ann Arbor have a life expectancy rate of more than 76 years, while
Sylvan, York and Ypsilanti have a life expectancy rate of 64 years.

“I can see that,” EMU junior Briana Gagnon said. “The Ann Arbor area is notorious for being health conscious. You see people running around all the time, you see a lot of vegetarian/vegan restaurants and yoga facilities.”

The four factors the foundation looks at to determine the health of a county are health behaviors, access to clinical care, social and environmental atmosphere and the physical environment.

“I eat whatever I want. I know I’m healthy because my doctor tells me so,” Arlinda Bates, a senior in information systems and computer science, said.

The website lists numerous health related statistics comparing Washtenaw to Michigan’s overall statistics.

These include obesity rates: Washtenaw County 25 percent while Michigan is at 32 percent; those who have attended college: Washtenaw County at 84 percent while Michigan is at 64 percent; and how many adults are smokers: Washtenaw at 12 percent while Michigan is at 20 percent.

“With the amount of smokers on campus, it’s hard to imagine that it doesn’t affect the statistics overall,” EMU nursing sophomore Anthony Mumford said. “I can barely walk around campus without hitting a group of smokers and inhaling a cloud of cigarette smoke.”

“These results are a testament to some of the excellent work happening in our community—thanks to our community partners and our staff,” Director and Health Officer for Washtenaw County Richard Fleece said in a statement.

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