Iowa ranks as the nation’s 10th healthiest state in a new report. The rankings were released today (Monday) by the United Health Foundation. Iowa Department of Public Health spokesman Kevin Teale says Iowa ranked 11th last year. Teale says the rankings have been released in each of the past 15 years, and Iowa has consistently been in or near the top 10. “We consider that good news,” he says.
Teale says the report analyzes a wide variety of factors, including high school graduation rates and immunization rates, to determine which states have the healthiest residents. The report’s authors, though, warn that residents in 28 other countries — including Britain, France, Germany and Japan — can expect to live a longer, healthier life than the average American. Obesity is the biggest problem. That’s the case in Iowa, too. The report found the number of Iowans who are obese increased a whopping 84 percent since 1990.
Teale says Iowa public health officials are concerned about that trend. The rankings also penalize Iowa for the low amount of state and local government tax dollars spent on public health initiatives. Teale says Iowa is being penalized for being efficient with its money. Minnesota was ranked as the nation’s healthiest state; Mississippi ranks as the least healthiest. The complete report is available on-line at www.americashealthrankings.org.