Health rankings concerning

Northeast Michigan is unhealthy compared to counties elsewhere in Michigan.

Alpena County fares best in Northeast Michigan, ranking a middling 36th out of Michigan’s 83 counties, according to County Health Rankings, a University of Wisconsin program that scores counties across the U.S. on their health statistics. Presque Isle County ranked 43rd, Montmorency County ranked 69th, and Alcona County ranked 66th.

Among the contributing factors to the lower rankings are a lack of access to parks for exercise and a higher number of drunk-driving deaths, News staff writer Michael Gonzalez reported recently.

Joshua Meyerson, medical director of District Health Department No. 4, told Gonzalez a lack of transportation could explain both issues.

While Alpena residents have easy access to multiple parks and trails for exercise, those who live in the more rural parts of our region could struggle to reach such places if they don’t have their own vehicle. Likewise, because much of our region can only be reached by personal vehicle, it increases the likelihood that some people may choose to drive after they’ve been drinking.

We don’t know the answers to those concerns beyond encouraging our readers to get out and exercise however they can, even if they have to do it in their own home, and to discourage our readers from drinking and driving (it’s not worth the risk of hurting or killing yourself or others).

But we believe our community leaders need to begin a conversation about how we could combat those and other problems and make our communities healthier.

That conversation can begin at 6 p.m. today at a District Health Department No. 4 listening session 2118 U.S.-23 S.

We encourage every resident who can make it to attend the listening session and let public health officials know what you’re concerned about so they can begin the conversations about how we get Northeast Michigan in shape.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today