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How Healthy is Wisconsin?

How does Wisconsin fare among other states when it comes to overall health? The good, the not so good, and how you can step up to make a difference in our state's health.

The following article was contributed by Bruce Weiss, MD, MPH, senior market medical director, UnitedHealthcare of Wisconsin.

When it comes to overall health, Wisconsin ranks among the best.

That’s according to the 22nd annual America’s Health Rankings from United Health Foundation. The report, the longest running of its kind in the country, placed Wisconsin 13th among all 50 states for overall health, up five spots from last year. 

Here’s a snapshot of how Wisconsin fared: 

Wisconsin’s Strengths

- High rate of high school graduation

- Low rate of uninsured population

- Low incidence of infectious disease

- Low percentage of children in poverty

Wisconsin’s Challenges

- High prevalence of binge drinking

- Low per capita public health funding 

Wisconsin residents are getting some things right. For example, in the past year, the percentage of children in poverty decreased to 12.7 percent from 15.5 percent. 

Other challenges are looming.  The prevalence of obesity in Wisconsin over the last five years has increased from 23.2 to 29.2 percent of the population.  While we should take a moment to congratulate ourselves for these successes, we can’t take continued progress for granted. Significant challenges remain.

I have witnessed efforts statewide on behalf of the public and private sectors to improve certain health trends, such as the prevalence of binge drinking and immunization coverage, and to improve our overall health outcomes, such as reducing infant mortality and cancer deaths.

But don’t wait for someone else to step up to make a difference in our state’s health. The change starts with you. And together, the impact we can have on our nation’s health is limitless. Visit www.facebook.com/americashealthrankings to take action for change.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

mau January 21, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Thank you Governor Walker.
Randy1949 January 21, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Yes, thank you Governor Walker: http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/walker-wrong-to-halt-work-on-insurance-exchanges-ii3o0qk-136987248.html Our Governor feels our state health insurance market is working just fine. I can assure you it is not.
mau January 21, 2012 at 04:22 PM
What good is an exchange if the democrats are opposed to this? http://reason.com/blog/2011/05/26/selling-health-insurance-acros Ron Paul says it best, the Federal Government should keep their nose out of the state's business.
FL Born January 21, 2012 at 11:07 PM
I would like to see the results of Healthy people on welfare and those who aren't
Bren January 22, 2012 at 09:52 PM
If United Healthcare were truly interested in helping the people of Wisconsin, they would lower their premium rates for small and midsize companies.

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