"The county health rankings show us that where people live plays a key role in how long and how well they live", said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in a statement issued by her group.
The rankings identified Johnson County as the state's healthiest county and Wyandotte County, just to Johnson County's north, as the state's least healthiest.
At the top and bottom, there were few changes from 2016 when Pleasants County was No. 4, Tucker County No. 5, Mingo County No. 53 and Wyoming County No. 54.
The new figures showed Shawnee County ranked 77th in quality of life, down from 61st past year.
Neighboring Chester County ranked highest in the state on health outcomes.
"The County Health Rankings show us that where we live matters to our health and the rankings give us a snapshot of how well and how long we're living", Davie said.
The study, conducted for the past eight years, is created to bring attention to various factors used to assess a community's overall health.
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In those categories Forsyth ranked higher than the top performers and the state average for: adult smoking rates, healthy food availability, newly diagnosed sexually transmitted diseases, teen births, percent of residents with some college, children in poverty, children in single-parent homes and injury deaths.
It shows the healthiest 10 counties in MI are Ottawa followed by Clinton, Livingston, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Emmet, Midland, Washtenaw, Barry, and Oakland.
Drug overdose deaths are part of the challenge here, said Amy Westbrook, public health division director for the St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services Department.
Mendoza acknowledged that some of the health problems in Monroe County could be driven by poverty in the urban and rural areas. All in all, the report looks at more than 30 individual health factors including income inequality, housing, jobs, education and more. The foundations found that premature deaths (ages 15-44 years old) is on the rise nationally due to drug overdoses. For 2017, it is 10th on health outcomes and ninth on health factors. Last year, experts reported that there were flaws in New York City's method of testing water for lead, according to a New York Times article.
Although the current state of the county has shown improvement, the forecast of the health factors is indicating that there is still more work to be done. But the county also had the least access to exercise opportunities and the highest level of excessive drinking.
St. Clair County has a high number of premature deaths at 3,564, according to the 2017 county health rankings.
The rankings recognized diabetes monitoring in the county as an area of strength.