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      Marquette County's health is among the best in the state

      Marquette County was just recently ranked 18 out of 83 counties in the state in terms of overall health outcomes. According to a recent report by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, Marquette County is one of the healthiest counties in the state which has been a trend over the past few years. The report on healthy outcomes assessed the average length and quality of life for residents of each county.

      Marquette County was also ranked 4 in healthy factors which is a combination of clinical care, healthy behaviors, physical environment measurements, as well as social and economic factors. Healthy factors are tied into healthy outcomes which should mean a bright future for the county in the years to come.

      "Although we've done consistently very well, everyone else is trying to do well at the same time. So where you fall ranking wise sometimes isn't quite as important," said Frank Benzie, Health Officer of the Marquette County Health Department.

      So as we move forward with healthier lifestyles, we also need to keep up with the Jones'. With that being said, there is actually another reason we need to be cautious of the rankings.

      "Rankings are less important than individual numbers that make up the data spreadsheet. So for instance it's important to look at things like what our percents of obesity are," said Dr. Terry Frankovich, Medical Director of the Marquette County Health Department.

      Some of the other factors to pay attention to include tobacco use, alcohol use, and even childhood poverty. In the last few years, childhood poverty has been on the rise across the state which can lead to a decrease in healthy lifestyles.

      The rankings might not be as important, but there is still a lot we can learn from the report.

      "The best thing that these numbers can do is to help us identify things that are changeable in the community. So some of those things would be can we be more physically active? Can we eat healthier foods?" said Dr. Frankovich.

      The fact of the matter is that there are certain things that will not change overnight, such as childhood poverty, but we can work to change other parts of our lifestyle that can improve our lives and keep Marquette County one of the healthiest in the state.