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:
- High rate of high school graduation
- Low rate of uninsured population
- Low incidence of infectious disease
- Low percentage of children in poverty
- 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.