Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky rank low on annual America's Health Ranking report

Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana might do better to watch their weight, curb their smoking, and engage in healthier lifestyles.

That was the findings of America’s Health Ranking 2013 Annual Report that recently released its state-by-state health rankings across the country. The organization publishes rankings each year based on criteria such as education, smoking, weight, and infant birth weights.

Kentucky ranked as the 45th most unhealthy state, Ohio 40, and Indiana 41.

Kentucky fared the worst for the number of smokers in the nation at 50 with 28.3 percent, or more than 930,000 adults who use tobacco. Obesity increased from 30.4 percent to 31.3 percent over the past year, equaling about one-third, or one million adults in the Commonwealth. And one in four young person under 18-years-old lived in poverty in the state. Immunization rates for children 19 to 35 months also dropped from 77.6 percent to 68.2 percent over the last year.

A silver lining for Kentucky? High school graduation rates have increased more than 15 percent in the state since 2003, with almost 80 percent graduating.

In Ohio, the numbers faired slightly better. The number of smokers in the state decreased by 8 percent in the last year, but 23.3 percent of adults still smokes. Violent crime decreased 15 percent over the past five years, as well.

On the downside, immunizations decreased for children aged 15 to 35 months from 74.7 percent to 66.8 percent and in the past year the prevalence of diabetes increased from 10 to 11.7 percent of adults.

Indiana, like Kentucky and Ohio, rank relatively high for the number of smokers in the Hoosier state with 1.1 million still smoking. In addition, one in four  children remains in poverty, and the infant mortality rate is between 7.3 to 8 deaths per 1,000 live births since 1998 and now ranks 45th in the country.

Indiana, like Kentucky, has seen an increase in high school graduation rates from 74.1 to 77.2 percent.
The United Health Foundation that publishes the America’s Health Ranking report states they publish their findings as part of a “continuously evolving standard of comparing the relative health of the states.”

“United Health Foundation is committed to continuing to identify ways to improve state health in measurable, meaningful ways,” said Rhonda Randall, D.O., senior advisor to the foundation. “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.”

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