Baton Rouge— The organization’s State Health Rankings Report ranks Louisiana at 49, up one from last year’s ranking. The report ranks state health based on nine risk factors and eight outcomes, measured from indicators compiled by federal agencies.
“While we are pleased to be labeled as most improved, we realize that we still have a long way to go to improve the health of all Louisiana citizens,” Department of Health Secretary David Hood said. “We are not satisfied being number 49, and we are committed to making even bigger improvements in the years ahead.”
Five of the risk factors used in ranking Louisiana health, including motor vehicle deaths, violent crime, high school graduation, children in poverty and lack of health insurance, are not typically associated with LDH programs and services. Although the Department has made great strides in reducing the number of uninsured children through the LaCHIP program, a lack of private insurance among all citizens continues to weigh the state down. Outcomes include occupational fatalities, heart deaths, cancer deaths, infectious disease, total mortality, infant mortality and premature death.
“What we are most proud of is that Louisiana has moved into the top 20 for access to adequate prenatal care,” Secretary Hood added. “That means the LaMOMS program is making real progress in caring for expectant mothers because we ranked 34 in 1990.”
Improvements over last year include prevalence of smoking declining from 24.6 percent to 23.8 percent of the population. The incidence of infectious disease has declined from 37.2 per 100,000 population to 32.8. The total uninsured population has declined from 19.3 percent to 18.4 percent and support for public health care has increased from 44 percent below the national average to 22 percent below the national average. Indicators such as childhood immunization and reduction in underage access to tobacco, areas where Louisiana performs well, were not included in the report.
Risk factors where Louisiana ranks in the bottom 10 include motor vehicle deaths, violent crime, risk for heart disease, high school graduation, children in poverty, lack of health insurance. Outcomes where Louisiana ranks in the bottom 10 include heart deaths, cancer deaths, infectious disease and all three categories of mortality.
The complete report is available online at www.unitedhealthfoundation.org.