The United States has achieved some long-term health improvements, but other health indicators have declined, according the United Health Foundation’s (UHF) latest health rankings report released Thursday.
UHF’s 2016 America’s Health Rankings report considers 34 measures of health care outcomes— including cardiovascular deaths, cancer deaths, and health status disparities—and four “health determinants”:
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•Behaviors, including drug overdose deaths, alcohol misuse, and physical inactivity;
•Clinical care, including preventable hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries, the number of primary care physicians, and the number of dentists;
•Community and environment, including air pollution, childhood poverty levels, infectious disease cases; and
•Policy, including those for immunizations and public health funding.
The report showed that the United States has achieved some long-term care improvements. For example, the report found that:
•Smoking rates among adult U.S. residents declined by 41 percent since 1990;
•The rate of preventable hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries declined by 35 percent over the past decade, including a 13 percent drop from 2015 to 2016; and
•The rate of U.S. residents without health insurance declined by 35 percent over the past five years.
However, the report also noted declines in other health indicators. For instance, the report found that the rate of cardiovascular deaths in the country increased for the first time, from about 251 deaths per 100,000 in 2015 to nearly 252 deaths per 100,000 this year. In addition, the nation’s rate of drug-related deaths grew by 9 percent over the past five years, and by 4 percent from 2015 to 2016. Such deaths have contributed to an increase in the country’s premature death rate over the past two years, McClatchy reports.
Further, the report found that obesity was 157 percent more prevalent this year than it was in 1990
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