A decline in the number of smokers, uninsured Americans, and preventable hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries is undercut by a sharp rise in obesity and drug- and heart-related deaths, according to United Health Foundation’s latest America’s Health Rankings report.
The 2016 report shows a 9% increase in drug deaths over the past five years, and a 4% increase in drug deaths over the past year alone nationwide. This is in part attributed to a growing opioid epidemic that lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle hope to stem with the new 21st Century Cures Act. States will receive $1 billion in grants over the next two years for drug abuse prevention and treatment programs.
Cardiovascular deaths also increased, for the first time in the report’s 27-year history, from 250.8 to 251.7 deaths per 100,000, and adult obesity rates increased by 157%.
“We have made important strides across the country against public health challenges; however, we are at a crossroads between a healthier future as a nation and a future in which troubling public health measurements become increasingly common,” said Reed Tuckson, M.D., external senior medical adviser to United Health Foundation. “Of particular concern is the first-time rise in cardiovascular deaths, despite all the medical advances in this area.”
The report ranked Hawaii as the healthiest state for the fifth straight year, while Mississippi replaced Louisiana as the least healthy state.
To read the full report, click here.