A report called “America’s Health Rankings” by the United Health Foundation ranks Nebraska the 11th healthiest state in the U-S, the same position it held last year.
Foundation spokeswoman Dr. Rhonda Randall says the 24th annual study is based on 27 measures in four key health categories.
Dr. Randall says, “In Nebraska, we see the strengths being that of low drug deaths, and a low number of low birth-weight babies, and there’s also challenges, there’s a high prevalence of binge drinking.”
More than 260,000 adults smoke in Nebraska, or 1 in 5. In the past year, the prevalence of physical inactivity dropped from 26.3 percent to 21.0 percent of adults, however, nearly 280,000 adults in the state are physically inactive and 380,000 adults remain obese.
While the study finds fewer Nebraskans using tobacco products, it also indicates too few of us are getting off the couch for the recommended amount of daily exercise.
“There’s a high prevalence of binge drinking,” Randall says. “Nebraska is ranked 48th out of 50 in the country for that. We’re also seeing that there’s a significant percentage of individuals in Nebraska who are physically inactive and who are obese.”
The improvements and challenges Nebraska is seeing are similar to those being faced nationwide, she says. The report finds progress on Americans’ overall health was driven by improvements in more than two-thirds of health measures, including smoking and physical inactivity.
“For many years, we’ve seen obesity on the rise,” Randall says. “This is the first year we’ve seen it level off, however, we continue to see diabetes on the rise. About 10% of the United States’ adult population has a diagnosis of diabetes.”
The nation’s obesity rate was about the same as last year, at 27.6 percent of the adult population, marking the first time since 1998 America did not get worse in this key metric.
While Nebraska ranked number-11 on the list this year, Hawaii was tops, followed by Vermont, Minnesota, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The lowest ranked states are: West Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas and in last place, Mississippi.
To see the full study, visit: www.americashealthrankings.org