USA’s Health Improving: Hawaii First, Mississippi Last
USA Today recently released America’s Health Rankings 2013 Annual Report from the United Health Foundation, in which all fifty states are analyzed and then ranked with a particular score based on data from twenty-seven measures of health. These multiple measures of health include a variation of categories such as tobacco and alcohol abuse, exercise occurrence, premature birth rates, public health funding, rates of cancer and heart disease, prevalence of diabetes, obesity rates, crime rates, and much more. The data for these categories is pulled from multiple credible sources such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the Census Bureau and many others, providing a very organized structure to compare the health of our states. The year 2013 has become a standout year in terms of the release of these rankings, as this is the first year since 1998 that obesity has not increased. Although it has not drastically declined by any means, this leveling off of the epidemic is evidence that both individuals and families are beginning to make changes towards better health and a better life. A halt to a steady increase over fifteen years displays that America is becoming more encouraged to be proactive and more involved in making good decisions about their health.
However, despite this great victory, Ohio unfortunately ranks near the bottom of the report, ranking fortieth out of the fifty states. Despite America as a whole displaying a change, awareness is certainly needed for Ohio. Most shockingly, our state has ranked 45th in the diabetes category. Not only is obesity still a large epidemic for America, but our state is largely affected by chronic conditions related to obesity, where preventative action is crucial now more than ever. We have the power to make changes in regards to our health, in which a focus on prevention must be emphasized, rather than medicating the issue. The future of our health lies in prevention and encouragement, where these shocking health factors can certainly be improved upon over time, making Ohio a healthier state.
Article provided by USA Today, with contributor Michelle Healy. 11 Dec. 2013.