Ohio improves, still ranked 39th of 50 in U.S. health rankings

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Ohioans are getting slightly healthier compared to residents in other states, but the state is still struggling in overall health, according to an annual report from United Health Foundation.

The Buckeye State ranks 39th of the 50 states in America’s Health Rankings, a study that measures health factors anywhere from physical activity to smoking rates to the number of dentists in a state. Ohio placed 40th one year ago, passing Georgia in the 2015 rankings.

Ohio is strong in a few areas highlighted by the report: few cases of salmonella (7th in the U.S.), high rate of health insurance (13th) and plenty of primary care physicians (15th). The study also highlights that “since 1990, cardiovascular deaths decreased 37% from 436.3 to 276.1 per 100,000 population.”

Overall, the state is lagging behind others in the U.S. for many important factors. Ohio ranked in the bottom 10 of states in eight categories:

  • Cancer deaths (41st)
  • Diabetes (42nd)
  • Drug Deaths (43rd)
  • Obesity (43rd)
  • Infant Mortality (44th)
  • Preventable hospitalizations (44th)
  • Public health funding (45th)
  • Air pollution (45th)

Perhaps most troubling for Ohio is that obesity is still on the rise (nearly 1 in 3 Ohio adults are obese) and deaths from drug use rising 35 percent over the past two years.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is performing better overall, placing 29th of 50 states despite a one-spot drop in the rankings this year.

On the strong side, young Pennsylvanians are getting immunized — the Keystone State ranked in the top five in children 19 to 35 months receiving vaccines (78.6%) and best in the country in adolescents receiving the MCV4 meningitis vaccine (95.2%).

The three categories where Pennsylvania ranked in the bottom ten were public health funding (41st), drug deaths (42nd) and air pollution (48th).

You can explore the full rankings yourself at AmericasHealthRankings.org.

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