A new study concludes Iowa ranks 24th among the 50 states when it comes to the economic hit of chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer. Ross DeVol of the Milken Institute’s Center for Health Economics says Iowa’s cancer rate is relatively low.
"Part of that is attributable to lower smoking rates, but where Iowa doesn’t do as well is on many of the cardiovascular diseases," DeVol says. When it comes to the number of Iowans who suffer from high blood pressure, have heart disease or who’ve had a stroke, Iowa is above the national average.
According to DeVol, Iowa’s above-average obesity levels could have an impact down the road as many of those overweight people will be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. DeVol’s says in 2003, Iowa businesses lost a lot because employees suffered from these chronic conditions.
"Productivity or economic outlook could have been higher (in Iowa) by about $10.5 billion," DeVol says. According to the study, the healthiest states tend to be in the west. The lowest-ranking states were in the northeast and south-central U.S.