National Report Ranks States on Overall Health, Examines Health Disparities
The United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association and the Partnership for Prevention on Monday released a report that ranked states' overall health based on 20 well-being factors, including poverty levels for children, violent crime, obesity, and racial and ethnic health disparities, the Salt Lake City Deseret Morning News reports.
The report, "America's Health Rankings: A Call to Action for People and Their Communities," ranked Vermont as the healthiest state, followed by Minnesota, Hawaii, New Hampshire and Connecticut. Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee were ranked at the bottom of the list (Collins, Salt Lake City Deseret Morning News, 11/5).
The report indicated that health disparities remain between minorities and whites. According to the report, the rate of premature deaths among blacks is almost 1.5 times higher than the rate among whites (UHF release, 11/5). People living outside of urban centers experienced 30% more premature deaths than those living in counties near large metro areas, the report found (Salt Lake City Deseret Morning News, 11/5).
In addition, the report shows that Hispanics have the lowest percentage of access to routine dental care and colon cancer screenings (UHF release, 11/5).
Georges Benjamin, executive director of APHA, said, "Eliminating disparities in health requires a greater emphasis and focus on the root causes of poor access to care; differential access to quality medical care; and the social determinates that lead to unhealthy living conditions." Reed Tuckson, a UHF board member, said, the report "should be a call to action for all of us who care deeply about the health of the nation," adding, "It is our hope that this report will serve as a catalyst for positive change and will energize people to make significant improvements in health behaviors" (UHF release, 11/5).
The report is available online.