Kansas fell to the 26th spot in the annual America’s Health Rankings, which tracks the country’s overall health. Last year Kansas ranked 23.
Like the rest of the country, Kansas follows a troubling trend of increasing obesity, diabetes and children in poverty which offsets improvements that have been made in smoking cessation, premature deaths, preventable hospitalizations and cardiovascular deaths.
Here’s how Kansas fared in those categories:
- Kansas has 640,000 obese adults, which is 229,000 more than 10 years ago.
- In the past five years, diabetes in the adult population increased from 6.9 percent to 8.4 percent. Today, 179,000 Kansans have diabetes.
- In the past year, the child poverty rate increased from 18 percent to 23.1 percent.
- Smoking has decreased from 21 percent to 17 percent in the past 10 years. But 361,000 still smoke in Kansas.
- In the past year, rate of preventable hospitalizations decreased from 75.3 to 70.5 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees.
- In the past 10 years, the rate of cardiovascular deaths in Kansas has decreased from 324.3 to 265.2 deaths per 100,000 population.
The report found some strengths in Kansas:
- Few poor mental and physical health days per month.
- Moderate use of early prenatal care.
- Low rate of uninsured population.
And, the report noted challenges the state faces:
- Low per capita public health funding.
- Limited availability of primary care physicians.
- High prevalence of obesity.
The report found that Vermont remains the nation’s healthiest state and New York and New Jersey showed the most improvement. America’s Health Rankings are complied each year by United Health Foundation in collaboration with the America Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention.