Charlevoix County recently ranked ninth in a study of the healthiest places to live in Michigan.
The healthiest place in Michigan—according to smartasset.com—is 1. Washtenaw County, followed by 2. Leelanau, 3. Ottawa, 4. Oakland, 5. Emmet, 6.Grand Traverse, 7. Livingston, and 8. Midland.
“Our study aims to find the healthiest places in the country,” says health insurance information leader smartasset. “An individual’s health is key to assessing life expectancy, which is the ultimate determinant of the price one pays for life insurance.”
They added, “To find America’s healthiest places we considered three factors: Length of Life, Health Behaviors and Healthcare Access.”
The first factor considered was the premature death rate in a county, specifically the years of potential life lost before age 75 per 100,000 residents.
This provides an inverse measure of life expectancy. In other words, this number shows the rate at which people die before the age of 75.
They indexed this factor to generate the Length of Life Index.
Second, they created a health behaviors index for each county.
This reflects the counties with the healthiest behaviors, as measured by three data points:
• Percentage of adults that are current smokers
• Percentage of adults that are obese
• Percentage of adults that report binge or heavy drinking
Third, they considered access to healthcare as a secondary measure of how healthy each county is, given the impact this has on health outcomes. They looked at the rate of primary care physicians per 100,000 residents.
They also looked at the uninsured rate, or the percentage of population under age 65 without health insurance.
Finally, they used a weighted average of the three indices above to yield an overall healthiest places score.
They used a 50% weighting for Length of Life, a 30% weighting for Health Behaviors and a 20% weighting for Healthcare Access, and indexed the final number so higher values reflect the healthiest places.