Georgia ranks among the least healthy states in the nation, according to a new report. The rankings, released by the United Health Foundation, put Georgia at No. 40 for overall healthiest states.
The foundation has been putting out its “America’s Health Rankings Annual Report” for 30 years. It looks at factors like behaviors, community and environment, policy, clinical care and health outcomes.
"Over the past 30 years, the understanding and science of public health has changed dramatically," Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare and advisor to America’s Health Rankings said in a statement. "Many health issues that were concerning in 1990 remain so today, and additional issues have arisen that require action now."
Here’s a look at Georgia’s report card breakdown:
Community & Environment: 38
Clinical Care: 45
Health Outcomes: 38
This year is the lowest Georgia has been on the list since the rankings began in 1990 when the Peach State was ranked 43rd healthiest state in the nation. In 2010, Georgia came in at No. 37 and in 2000 it was ranked at 39th.
The report notes that Georgia faces challenges such as low immunization coverage among children, high occurrences of low birth weight and a low number of mental health care providers.
The report also found:
- Obesity rates have increased 16% in Georgia since 2012, from 28% to 32.5% of the state’s adults
- Since 2012, diabetes has increased 24%
However, the report does note some things Georgia is doing well. Those include: low prevalence of binge drinking and low death drug rate.
In recent years, there have been other strides made as well: The high state’s high school graduation rate has been rising, smoking levels have been decreased and the state’s number of mental health care providers rose 12% in the last two years.
In this year’s rankings, Vermont took home the top spot for healthiest state overall. It was followed in the top spots by Massachusetts, Hawaii, Connecticut, Utah, New Hampshire, Minnesota, New Jersey, Washington and Colorado.
Mississippi was the least healthy state in the nation. It’s joined in the bottom 10 by several other Southern states, including South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana.
The report notes that Mississippi’s drop from No. 49 to 50th overall is due to changes in the policy and behavior categories.
Here are some national trends in health, according to the report:
- The percentage of children in poverty continues to decline
- Smoking among adults has decreased 45% since 1990.
- Air pollution has decreased 36% since 2003
- Suicide rates continue to increase
- Obesity rates among adults has increased 166% since 1990
- Low birth weights remain a challenge
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