Oklahoma ranks 43 in overall health rankings in US; obesity, smoking, lack of doctors are challenges

The good news?

Oklahoma moved up three spots to 43 from 2011.

The bad news? We're only better off than seven other states in the U.S.

The United Health Foundation released its America's Health Rankings Tuesday.

According to the report, Americans are living longer due to medical advances, but unhealthy behavior and preventable illness threaten quality of life.

Cardiovascular and cancer deaths have declined since 1990. Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and sedentary behavior are areas Americans are experiencing troubling levels.

In Oklahoma, the challenges are: high prevalence of smoking, high prevalence of sedentary lifestyle, obesity and diabetes, limited availability of primary care physicians, and high rate of cardiovascular deaths.

The Sooner state showed areas of strength with a low prevalence of binge drinking and low incidence of infectious disease.

Oklahomans are getting many things right.

In the past year, the percentage of persons under 18 living in poverty dropped from 25 to 20 percent, and the state's infant mortality rate declined from 8.5 to 7.5 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Too many Oklahoma residents are overweight or obese - and the trend is getting worse. More than 31 percent of Oklahomans are above what is considered by health experts to be a normal weight. Smoking also remains high at 26.1 percent of adults.

For the sixth year in a row, Vermont is the nation's healthiest state. Hawaii is ranked second, followed by New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Minnesota.

The five least healthy states are South Carolina (46), West Virginia (47), Arkansas (48), and Mississippi and Louisiana, which tied for the 49th slot.

States that showed the most substantial improvement in rankings include: New Jersey (nine slots), Maryland (five slots), and Alabama, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Rhode Island (three slots).

To see the complete rankings and more on Oklahoma go to http://americashealthrankings.org/rankings




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