According to a report launched today by United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association (APHA) and Partnership for Prevention(TM), the overall health of the nation is down .03% from last year, but has remained relatively the same for the past six years.
The report shows there have been modest gains in reducing the rates of cancer and cardiovascular mortality, however other factors have stayed the same or risen, including increased obesity rates, increasing numbers of uninsured people, children in poverty and the persistence of risky health behaviors, such as tobacco use and violent crime. All of these factors contribute to the overall healthiness of the nation and are all determining factors in the rankings. Other factors include smoking, violent crime, binge drinking, infectious disease, health status and several measures of mortality.
Utah ranks sixth in the nation for the second straight year and Vermont takes the top spot from Minnesota, which falls from first place for the first time in five years, to second place overall. Utah was particularly strong with it’s low levels of violent crime and low levels of binge drinking. The state also has a high graduation rate, which factors into the report.
According to the US Census Bureau, the number of Americans who are uninsured has increased from 13.4 percent in 1990 to 15.8 percent of the population today- meaning that over 47 million Americans are without health insurance (including over 9 million children). The Institute of Medicine (IOM) attributes 18,000 deaths per year to people under age 65 due to lack of insurance coverage.
Since the first report in 1990, the nation’s health shows an overall improvement of 18.4%, most stronlgy attributed to the reduction of several health determinants, such as infectious diseases, smoking, infant mortality, cardiovascular deaths and violent crime, and fewer children living in poverty.
Over the last six years, however, the nations health has stayed relatively the same, with this year showing a .03% decline from last year’s report. The biggest concerns continue to be the nations obesity levels, which have risen from 11.6% of the population being obese in 1990 to 25% meeting that classification today. Obesity, of course, contributes to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer.
The average life expectancy of Americans (77.9 years) is now at it’s highest level ever, yet is still lower than 43 other countries. Japan leads in the world in life expectancy at 82 years.
The complete rankings are below;