Yesterday, the nonprofit United Health Foundation released its annual America’s Health Rankings, and the news for Ohio isn’t so good. We ranked 36th in the country, down from 33rd last year. The percentage of people who smoke, which has been shrinking in the last decade, showed an uptick from 20.3% to 22.5%. Child poverty increased in a year from 18.7% to 22.9%, while the number of uninsured jumped from 11.0% to 13.7%. Now 10.1% of adults have diabetes compared to 7.7% five years ago. And in ten years, the rate of obesity expanded (along with waistlines) from 21.5% to 29.7%. That’s a lot of buffalo wings.
At least our Asian population is healthy, with rates of obesity, smoking and diabetes under 10%. Unfortunately, they comprise only about 1.5% of Ohio’s population.
The study also rates such factors as high school graduation, violent crimes, occupational fatalites, air pollution, prenatal care, infant mortality, and public health funding. Ohioans manage not to kill themselves on the job very often — we rank 8th in that statistic. But we come in 48th in air quality and 47th in the amount of money allocated for public health funding. And it’s depressing to note that, while our legislators are holding hearings on several abortion bills today, Ohio ranks 29th in early prenatal care and 39th in infant mortality.
If you’re trying to decide where to move and where not to move to stay healthy, Vermont is the country’s healthiest state — all the New England states were in the top ten — and Mississippi is its least healthy. Most southern states did poorly, making up most of the bottom ten. — Anastasia Pantsios