Increases in drug deaths, obesity and diabetes offset national declines in smoking, deaths from heart disease and infant mortality, a new report shows, but some states' dramatic improvement brightened the overall picture.
The 2015 version of America’s Health Rankings showed there was little progress among many of the poorest, sickest states, with some of the southern states – Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas – remaining at the bottom of the list.
Smoking rates were down 5% in the last year
alone, dropping nearly a percentage point to
18.1% among adults and 39% since 1990
"We couldn’t possibly afford all the medical care required to treat all these conditions," says physician Reed Tuckson, external senior medical adviser to the United Health Foundation which does the annual report. "If we don’t turn off the spigot of preventable illness, we will bankrupt Medicare, Medicaid and our private insurance systems."
The rankings come on the heels of a report from the Commonwealth Fund that showed more states improved than worsened over time on most of 42 indicators, including infant mortality and breast cancer deaths, examined. Poor states such as Kentucky, Louisiana and Tennessee were among those that saw the greatest gains across health measures.
|CLICK MAP to ENLARGE|
Despite gains, however, smoking, lack of exercise and other issues persist in many places.
“Too many Americans today are developing chronic illnesses due to their lifestyle choices,” said Rhonda Randall, an osteopath and senior adviser to the United Health Foundation, which releases its report every year.
North Carolina showed the biggest improvement in its rank in the United Health report over the past year, jumping six places. It was buoyed by an increase in the percentage of immunizations, in physical activity and salmonella infections were down. The report also singled out Maine, Washington state, Kentucky and Delaware for their improved rankings.
Some other positive signs in the America's Health Rankings:Read the rest of the story HERE.
If you like what you see, please "Like" us on Facebook either here or here. Please follow us on Twitter here.