By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island ranked 10th in overall health in 2011, unchanged from last year’s ranking, according to 2011 America’s Health Rankings released Dec. 7 by the United Health Foundation in collaboration with the American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention.
For the fifth year in a row, Vermont was the nation’s healthiest state.
Rhode Island’s strengths included: high immunization coverage, with 94.4 of children ages 19-35 months; low rate of uninsured population, with 11 percent of state residents not having health insurance; and the ready availability of primary care physicians.
Rhode Island’s challenges included: high prevalence of binge drinking; high percentage of children in poverty, 20.4 percent of those under age 18; and a high rate of preventable hospitalizations.
Nationally, the report found that the nation’s overall health did not improve between 2010 and 2011. There were troubling nationwide increases in obesity, diabetes and children in poverty, which offset improvements in smoking cessation, premature deaths, preventable hospitalizations and cardiovascular deaths. 2011 was the first year that no state had an obesity prevalence of less than 20 percent, according to the report.
“America’s Health Rankings from United Health Foundation is an incredibly valuable tool for us to clearly understand health trends facing us as a nation and here in Rhode Island,” said Dr. Neal Galinko, UnitedHealthcare of New England’s senior medical director. “By identifying the key opportunities we face as a state we can pursue innovative solutions to those opportunities.”
To go directly to Rhode Island’s ranking page CLICK HERE.