December 11, 2013
Concord, NH - The 2013 version of the United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings report gives the State of New Hampshire an overall fifth-place ranking among the 50 states and the District of Columbia today. This year’s report looks at various health indicators, such as obesity and smoking rates, including some new measurements for the first time this year, such as deaths from substance abuse, disparity in health status, and dental care.
Last year New Hampshire was ranked third initially, then changes to the model and how rankings were calculated was revised by the United Health Foundation, so the State dropped to fifth. New Hampshire is generally a healthy state though by most measures. Some highlights from this year’s report are that in the past year smoking prevalence decreased from 19.4% to 17.2% in New Hampshire, over the past 10 years the high school graduation rate has improved from 75.3% to 86.3%, and in the past 10 years the rate of cardiovascular deaths decreased by 42% from 310.0 to 218.9 per 100,000 population.
Not all measures are positive in the State though, with the percentage of children living in poverty increasing in the past 10 years from 6.5% to 10.9%, a high prevalence of binge drinking, and a high rate of pertussis infections.
“We are lucky to be living in such a healthy state,” said Dr. José Montero, Public Health Director at DHHS, “but there is more work to be done. Our immunization rate among children is second in the country, but it is not acceptable that we are seeing a busy year for cases of whooping cough. We still struggle too with a fairly high rate of obesity and diabetes as well as youth tobacco use. These cross-cutting issues require comprehensive approaches with appropriate and clearly identified strategies and funding, so we can successfully continue to work tirelessly on behalf of our population.”
Our health is the result of a combination of many factors, some within our control and some not. America’s Health Rankings analyzes a comprehensive set of behaviors, public and health policies, environmental conditions, and clinical data from the states to calculate an overall view of the health of the country. The report is based on the perspective that, in addition to our individual genetic predisposition to disease, healthiness is based on the interaction of four essential and controllable factors: everyday activities that affect our health, the daily conditions in which we live, the availability of resources to promote and maintain health, and the clinical care we receive at physicians’ offices, clinics, and hospitals.
To read the entire report, visit www.americashealthrankings.org. For more information about any of the issues addressed, visit the NH Department of Health and Human Services website at www.dhhs.nh.gov.