Despite the presence of world-renowned healthcare facilities in Ohio, the state ranks 35th in the United States in the latest edition of "America's Health Rankings", which is compiled by the non-profit United Health Foundation.
UHF notes that some of Ohio's strengths in terms of health include high immunization coverage, low occupational fatalities rate, and low geographic disparity within the state. However, these positives are overshadowed by the challenges facing the state, including a high prevalence of smoking, high levels of air pollution, and a high rate of preventable hospitalizations.
25.1 percent of Ohio's adult population smokes, which means there are more than 2.2 million adult smokers in the state. In the smoking category, Ohio ranked 43rd, the state's worst ranking of all categories considered.
Obesity, which is a problem facing much of the nation, is also a particular problem in Ohio where 42.5 percent of non-Hispanic blacks are obese. 33.1 percent of Hispanics in Ohio are obese, and 28.7 percent of non-Hispanic whites were found to be obese. Sedentary lifestyle was also found to be more prevalent among non-Hispanic blacks (35%), than Hispanics at 27.6 percent and non-Hispanic whites at 25.3 percent.
Another issue facing Ohio is the rate of uninsured population increased from 10.7 percent to 13.7 percent (2011).
During the past five years, the rate of preventable hospitalizations decreased from 88.0 to 78.5 per 1,000 Medicare enrollees, however, this figure remains high compared to other states.
In the report, Vermont took home the top ranking thanks low incidence of infection diseases, low prevalence of low birthweight, a low rate of uninsured population, and a high rate of high school graduation. The state also had one of the lowest rates of sedentary lifestyle in the U.S.
Louisiana and Mississippi tied for 49th place. Some of the challenges facing Louisiana include high prevalance of sedentary lifestyle, obesity and diabetes, as well as a high percentage of children in poverty, a high infant mortality rate, high prevalence of low birthweight, and a high rate of preventable hospitalizations. The high school graduation is also just 67.3 percent, and 20.3 percent of the population is uninsured.
Mississippi faces similar challenges to that of Louisiana with high prevalences of sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and diabetes. Mississippi also has a high infant mortality rate, high prevalence of low birthweight, high prevalence of smoking, and high rate of cardiovascular death. Mississippi also ranks dead last in the U.S. for sedentary lifestyle, and just 62 percent of ninth graders graduate within four years.
For the full list of rankings, visit americashealthrankings.org.