Hawaii for the fourth year in a row continues to hold the title of the nation’s healthiest state, unveils US Health Rankings. The nonprofit United Health Foundation supported by United Health Group has released the 26th edition of its annual report on American health on Thursday.
The group’s state-by-state has illuminated stark differences in the rates of diseases, behaviors and public health investments in the US states. The rankings are vital as officials do consider them before they come with programs to address certain health issues including obesity and smoking.
North Dakota has the lowest rate of drug deaths in the country and Alaska tops the list of violent crime. Though Texas has made progress, 21% of Texans continue to not have health insurance. Tennessee has made progress in making its residents to be physically more activity and a decline of 28% has come in cutting physical inactivity.
Louisiana is this year’s unhealthiest state in the nation, finds the report. But it does not surprise Mark Diana, a health policy expert at Tulane University in New Orleans, who said, “Louisiana is usually near the bottom and it reflects to me a fairly persistent set of challenges the state faces. I could probably summarize it easiest by saying — it's a poor state”. Most of its health problems are rooted in poverty.
Minnesota has made improvement in reducing healthcare costs by $400 million a year by reducing the number of preventable hospitalizations. These hospitalizations are expensive. Last year, a drop of 8% was witnessed in the number of preventable hospitalizations, from 63 to 58 discharges per 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries.
The decline has come owing to focus towards healthcare models that emphasize quality of service rather than speed at which it is provided. Over the past two years, a rise has been witnessed in the nationwide obesity rates to 30% of adults. Now, 10% of Americans have diabetes. Good news is a drop in number of smokers.
Dr. Reed Tuckson, a senior medical adviser to the United Health Foundation, was of the view that the report findings show that America is struggling unnecessarily against a number of preventable and costly health conditions. He even said that Americans are living longer, but living sicker.
“We celebrate it, but at the end of the day no one paying for healthcare can afford to continue to pay this much money to treat diseases that really should not have happened in the first place”, affirmed Tuckson.
Tuckson said, “There is a very clear relationship that we've noticed in America between socioeconomic status and overall healthiness”.