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Georgia ranks among worst states for children’s health care in new report

When it comes to the best and worst states for children’s health care, Georgia doesn’t fare very well, according to a new report.

» RELATED: For first time since 2012, Georgia isn’t one of the 10 worst states for children

In fact, the Peach State ranked among the bottom of the pack in WalletHub’s latest analysis based on kids’ health and access to health care; kids’ nutrition, physical activity and obesity and, last but not least, kids’ oral health.

For the report, researchers compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across the three aforementioned dimensions and further evaluated the categories using 30 relevant metrics, such as infant-death rate, share of children with recommended vaccines, pediatricians per capita, kids’ access to healthy food, share of obese or overweight children and more.

» RELATED: Georgia health care legislation left some gaps in 2019

Of the 50 states and D.C., Vermont was deemed the best state for children’s health, followed by Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Source: WalletHub

Mississippi ranked at the very bottom. Georgia came in at No. 44, eighth worst in the country.

Here’s more on how the state fared:

  • Overall rank: 44
  • Kids’ health and access to health care: 42
  • Kids’ nutrition, physical activity and obesity: 38
  • Kids’ oral health: 7

The state’s low rank can be attributed to a variety of factors, including its 9.8% low birth weight rate, which the 2018 Kids Count Data Book, an annual analysis from nonprofit Annie E. Casey Foundation, highlighted last year.

» RELATED: Georgia is one of the worst states to have a baby, study finds (again)

According to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the latest figures show the state also stands as the seventh highest preterm birth rate and has the designation as one of the top 10 states for cesarean delivery rates.

Georgia was also among the worst 10 states when it came to share of children without health insurance, according to the Kids Count report.

But there is some positive news: While Georgia has been ranking low in WalletHub’s rankings, the state has slightly improved since 2016. And it analysis does show a glimmer of hope for child health in Georgia as it relates to kids’ dental health.

Another promising sign: In 2018, for the first time since 2012, the Annie E. Casey Foundation didn’t rank Georgia among the worst 10 states for children in its Kids Count Data Book.

» RELATED: Georgia named 9th worst state to raise a family, new study finds

A year earlier, the nonprofit’s analysis pointed out that “more children now have health insurance following implementation of Obamacare, the federal Affordable Care Act. The improvement ‘represents an undeniable success for public investment,’” AJC’s Ariel Hart reported in 2017.

Moving forward, Lorie Judson of  the Chin Family Institute for Nursing at California State University, urges policymakers and local leaders to consider the top five indicators for children’s health, which she tells WalletHub are “most often linked to the social determinants of health, which include education of parents, family income, housing and environment, including healthy food and exercise and access to health care.”

Explore the full report at wallethub.com.

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