Recent Improvements In Overall Health Stalled, Might Reverse

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Recent improvements in the overall health of U.S. residents have stalled and might reverse in the near future, according to a report released on Wednesday by the United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention, USA Today reports.

For the report, titled "2008 America's Health Rankings," health experts examined 20 years of data on 22 measures -- such as access to care, immunizations, prenatal care, infant mortality, heart disease deaths, smoking cessation, infectious disease deaths, violent crime and occupational deaths.

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According to the report, although the overall health of U.S. residents improved by 18% between 1990 and 2000, that progress stalled during the past four years. Experts said that they had the most concerns about increased rates of obesity, tobacco use and chronic diseases.

The report ranked Vermont as the healthiest state in the nation and ranked Louisiana as the least healthy state. Vermont had a smoking rate that was 17.6% less than the national average of 20%, a smaller increase in obesity rate than the national average and the highest rate of residents with health insurance, the report found. Louisiana had the highest rates of infant mortality, cancer deaths and racial disparities in health care, according to the report (Sternberg, USA Today, 12/3).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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