Our goal is to one day make Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation! It appears we still have a long way to go. The latest national health rankings (from America’s Health Rankings) just came out and Arizona finished a disappointing 29th overall.
- Low prevalence of smoking (6th)
- Low rate of preventable hospitalizations (9th)
- Low rate of cancer deaths (6th)
However, Arizona still faces a number of health challenges which drove down our overall rank. The biggest challenges include –
- Low percentage of high school graduation (44th)
- High percentage of children in poverty (47th)
- Large disparity in health status by educational attainment (43rd)
The current ‘healthiest state in the nation‘ is Hawaii….an honor that state has held for five consecutive years. Nationwide – there were some disturbing trends that researchers found this year. From TheHill.com:
Americans are also notably heavier than they were when the foundation began its annual surveys. In 1990, just 11.6 percent of American adults were considered obese; in 2016, that number had jumped to 29.8 percent, a 157 percent increase.
USA Today added, “Even more disturbing, over the past two years, the rate of premature death has also increased, according to Reed Tuckson, external clinical advisor United Health Foundation (UHF), a not-for-profit foundation, that sponsors the report.
“We are still living longer, but sicker, and getting sicker sooner,” Tuckson said. “People are experiencing obesity and related consequences earlier in life which is also a problem.”
Another major concern is the fact that the rate of cardiovascular deaths went up for the first time since the foundation started putting out this report 26 years ago.
How does the United Health Foundation arrive at these rankings? Researchers analyze 34 measures of behaviors, community and environment, policies and clinical care data – and then they crunch those numbers to come up with an overall health score for every state.
For an overview of the rankings and the health trends across the country, you can check out the report’s executive summary.
Once you have a chance to look things over – let us know how you think we can start to move the health needle in our state. Can we climb into the top 20 over the next year or two by focusing attention on a few key areas? And what might those areas be? By working together and finding new ways to bring better health to Arizonans – we can begin to move closer to our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!