Oklahoma's latest health ranking shows improvement
BY World's Editorials Writers
Thursday, December 13, 2012
12/13/12 at 3:00 AM
Finally, a well-respected national report shows that Oklahoma is making significant progress on several health-care fronts. The latest "America's Health Rankings" report placing Oklahoma in 43rd place overall for health measures is proof that when we put our minds to it, we can get healthier.
Of course, 43rd place isn't reason to be uncorking the champagne (only 91 calories per glass). But the notable improvement - we're up three places from last year's report - is very encouraging, as state Health Commissioner Terry Cline put it.
The annual health rankings, compiled by United Health Foundation, showed that the state's improved ranking was the result of progress in several key categories: improvements in the infant mortality rate; improved immunization levels for children ages 19 to 35 months; low infectious disease rates; more health insurance coverage; low prevalence of binge drinking, and a lower percentage of children living in poverty.
Some aggressive statewide programs, such as those targeting infant mortality and immunization compliance, are among factors credited with contributing to the improved ranking.
Oklahoma had ranked 48th in last year's report, but that ranking was later adjusted to 46th place.
While the improved measures are certainly something to feel good about, the state still faces huge, worrisome challenges.
Tobacco use, sedentary lifestyles, obesity, diabetes, high rates of heart disease, and low numbers of primary care physicians continue to be problems to address.
Oklahoma ranked 47th in smoking this year, 45th in both obesity and sedentary lifestyle, 48th in cardiovascular deaths, and 49th in the number of primary care doctors per capita.
Health leaders are working diligently on all these fronts, but improvements don't come easily. They could certainly use more help at any and all levels, from Oklahomans of all walks of life.
"We recognize and support opportunities occurring within communities, businesses, organizations, faith-based groups and others in the private sector that help make the healthy choice the easy choice and ultimately improve the health status of all Oklahomans," said Cline.
Good work, all. Now, let's work even harder.
Original Print Headline: Healthier