United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings Finds Americans Are Making Considerable Progress in Key Health

  United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings Finds Americans Are
  Making Considerable Progress in Key Health Measures

  *Hawaii is the healthiest state
  *Nationwide, Americans improved in the majority of the measures captured by
    the Rankings
  *Improvements span key behavioral measures including smoking and physical
    inactivity
  *2013 marks the first time since 1998 that America’s obesity crisis did not
    worsen
  *Serious challenges remain; maintaining momentum is key

Business Wire

MINNETONKA, Minn. -- December 11, 2013

Americans are making considerable progress in their overall health, according
to United Health Foundation’s 2013 America’s Health Rankings^®: A Call to
Action for Individuals & Their Communities.

Nationwide, Americans improved in the majority of the measures captured by the
Rankings. The most notable gains came in key behavioral measures, including
smoking, which dropped from 21.2 percent of the adult population to 19.6
percent. Seventeen states had significant drops in smoking, with the largest
seen in Nevada, Maryland, Oklahoma, Kansas and Vermont.

Physical inactivity dropped from 26.2 percent of the adult population to 22.9
percent, and America’s obesity rate remained approximately the same as
reported in 2012 (27.6 percent of the adult population in 2013 compared with
27.8 percent in 2012). This marks the first time since 1998 that obesity rates
have not worsened.

State rankings

Hawaii has taken the title of healthiest state. Vermont, last year’s reported
No. 1 state, is ranked second this year and has ranked among the top five
states for the last decade. Minnesota is third, followed by Massachusetts and
New Hampshire. Mississippi ranks 50^th this year, and Arkansas (49), Louisiana
(48), Alabama (47) and West Virginia (46) complete the list of the five least
healthy states.

Top-seated Hawaii scored well along most measures particularly for having low
rates of uninsured individuals, high rates of childhood immunization, and low
rates of obesity, smoking and preventable hospitalizations. Like all states,
Hawaii also has areas where it can improve: it has higher-than-average rates
of binge drinking and occupational fatalities, and lower-than-average rates of
high school graduation.

To see the Rankings in full, visit: www.americashealthrankings.org.

Despite progress, significant challenges remain

When it comes to improving the nation’s health, there is still much to be
done. Obesity has leveled off; however, it must remain a top priority, as 27.6
percent of adults nationwide report being obese. With rates of physical
inactivity, smoking and diabetes at 22.9 percent, 19.6 percent and 9.7
percent, respectively, there is still considerable room for improvement in key
health measures.

“I am encouraged by the progress we’ve made this year and am hopeful that the
leveling off we see in America’s obesity is a sign of further improvement to
come,” said Reed Tuckson, M.D., external senior medical adviser to United
Health Foundation. “We should certainly celebrate these gains. They encourage
us to continue to identify and effectively implement best practices in these
areas and in addressing diabetes, heart disease and other chronic health
conditions that compromise Americans’ health and vitality.”

Georges Benjamin, M.D., executive director of the American Public Health
Association, said: “Every year, the America’s Health Rankings report details
the nation’s health successes and challenges on a state-by-state level,
providing specific areas where citizens and states alike can focus to continue
to improve the health of our nation. I am pleased to see the progress we’ve
made and hope we can keep up the good work.”

United Health Foundation calls for sustained momentum

“United Health Foundation is committed to continuing to identify ways to
improve state health in measurable, meaningful ways,” said Rhonda Randall,
D.O., senior adviser to United Health Foundation and chief medical officer of
UnitedHealthcare Retiree Solutions. “I hope we soon see the day when we are
cheering year-over-year improvements in obesity, and I look forward to seeing
our nation’s percentage of smokers continue to decline.”

“Those of us who dedicate our careers to public health know we can’t improve
what we don’t measure,” said Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., chairman, Partnership for
Prevention. “The America’s Health Rankings report and the online tools show us
where we’ve made strides in promoting better health and, importantly, where we
still have work to do.”

The America’s Health Rankings report and its tools – including analysis not
only of state populations but also subpopulations within states – are designed
to identify health opportunities in communities as well as multi-stakeholder,
multi-disciplinary approaches to address those opportunities. Through its
programs and grants, United Health Foundation shines a spotlight on the health
of America while promoting evidence-based solutions. As part of this
commitment, United Health Foundation has partnered with the Association of
State and Territorial Health Officials and the National Business Coalition on
Health to create learning laboratories that identify and promote best
practices and innovations in public health. To learn more about America’s
Health Rankings – and to get information on how to help improve community
health – visit www.americashealthrankings.org.

About America’s Health Rankings^®

America’s Health Rankings is an annual comprehensive assessment of the
nation’s health on a state-by state basis. It is published jointly by United
Health Foundation, American Public Health Association and Partnership for
Prevention.

The data in the report come from well-recognized outside sources, such as the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Medical Association, FBI,
Dartmouth Atlas Project, U.S. Department of Education and Census Bureau. The
report is reviewed and overseen by a Scientific Advisory Committee, with
members from leading academic institutions, government agencies and the
private sector.

America’s Health Rankings is the longest-running report of its kind. For 24
years, the Rankings has provided an analysis of national health on a
state-by-state basis by evaluating a historical and comprehensive set of
health, environmental and socioeconomic data to determine national health
benchmarks and state rankings. The Rankings employs a unique methodology,
developed and annually reviewed by a Scientific Advisory Committee of leading
public health scholars. For more information, visit
www.americashealthrankings.org.

About United Health Foundation

Guided by a passion to help people live healthier lives, United Health
Foundation provides helpful information to support decisions that lead to
better health outcomes and healthier communities. The Foundation also supports
activities that expand access to quality health care services for those in
challenging circumstances and partners with others to improve the well-being
of communities. After its establishment by UnitedHealth Group [NYSE: UNH] in
1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation, the Foundation has committed
more than $210 million to improve health and health care. For additional
information, please visit www.unitedhealthfoundation.org.

Twitter: @AHR_Rankings
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AmericasHealthRankings
Website: www.americashealthrankings.org

Click here to subscribe to Mobile Alerts for UnitedHealth Group.

Contact:

United Health Foundation
Lauren Mihajlov, 952-936-3068
lauren_mihajlov@uhg.com
or
Jane Pennington, 952-945-7508
jane.m.pennington@uhg.com
 
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.