WINDHAM - Americans are living longer due to several medical advances, but unhealthy behavior and preventable illness threaten quality of life, according to United Health Foundation’s 2012 America’s Health Rankings.
While premature, cardiovascular and cancer deaths have declined since 1990 by 18.0 percent, 34.6 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively, Americans are experiencing troubling levels of obesity (27.8 percent of the adult population), diabetes (9.5 percent of the adult population), high blood pressure (30.8 percent of the adult population) and sedentary behavior (26.2 percent of the adult population).
UnitedHealthcare watches America’s Health Rankings closely to better understand the health of individuals and communities nationwide and in New Hampshire and has several programs in place designed to address these needs. Programs educate U.S. and New Hampshire citizens on how to live healthy lives and empower individuals to advocate for public health improvement.
“America’s Health Rankings from United Health Foundation is an incredibly valuable tool for us to clearly understand health trends facing us as a nation and here in New Hampshire,” said Sandra B. Nichols, Chief Medical Officer, Northeast Region, UnitedHealthcare Clinical Services. “By identifying the key opportunities we face as a state we can pursue innovative solutions to those opportunities.”
New Hampshire’s Bill of Health
According to the 23rd Edition of America’s Health Rankings, New Hampshire is third this year compared to second in 2011 when compared with the health of other states. This year’s report finds that, similar to every other state, New Hampshire has its share of strengths and challenges:
- Low percentage of children in poverty
- Low violent crime rate
- Low infant mortality rate
- High rate of high school graduation
- Low per capita public health funding
- Moderate prevalence of binge drinking
- New Hampshire has one of the lowest sedentary lifestyle rates in the U.S. at 22.5 percent of the population, with 234,000 sedentary adults.
- In the past year, the incidence of infectious disease decreased from 6.8 to 5.5 cases per 100,000 population.
- Air pollution decreased in the past 5 years, from 9.1 to 7.5 micrograms of fine particulate per cubic meter.
- In the past 10 years, the rate of uninsured population increased from 8.5 percent to 11.3 percent.
- Since 1990, the infant mortality rate decreased from 8.4 to 4.4 deaths per 1,000 live births and is the lowest among all states.
In New Hampshire, obesity is more prevalent among non-Hispanic whites at 26.2 percent than Hispanic at 21.0 percent.