Nationwide health trends report outlines challenges in DC region

This year’s America’s Health rankings report, released by the United Health Foundation, looked at a range of health-related issues across the nation and on a state level.

The D.C. region has been trending upwards in overall health in the last several years, but there were a number of issues in each state that the report identified.

Maryland ranked 18th overall with a decrease in infant mortality by 44% over the last 30 years and a decrease in excessive drinking since 2012. The state also saw a low percentage of childhood poverty but experienced a high rate of violent crime. In the past year, diabetes also increased from 10% to 12% of adults.

Virginia ranked 15th, up from 20th last year and was found to have a low crime rate. Since 2012, the state also saw a decrease in smoking from 29% to 20% but in the past 3 years, drug deaths increased by 52%. Some of the other challenges include a low rate of mental health providers and low per capita health funding.

The District was not ranked, but did see an increase in physical activity among adults over the past year and a low prevalence of diabetes. Some of the challenges include high drug deaths with a 154% increase over the last 3 years from 15 to 39 per 100,000 people. A high violent crime rate and excessive drinking are also cause for concern, according to the report.

Some of the key findings in the 2019 report include a drastic increase in obesity nationwide.

Since 1990, obesity has increased by 166% nationally. Smoking among adults has decreased by 46%. Access to mental health providers has increased by 5%, with a jump from 235 providers to 247 per 100,000 people this year.

Overall, when looking at national averages, Vermont came in as the healthiest state and Mississippi ranked as the most unhealthy.

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