(LOUISVILLE, Ky., December 12, 2017) America's Health Rankings, released today by United Health Foundation, show Kentucky continues to struggle with many health measures, but has moved up three spots from the 2016 report, to 42nd from 45th. The annual report ranks states based on 35 measures of behaviors, community and environment, policy, clinical care and outcomes data. Kentucky earned its highest ranking, 16th, in measures under the policy category and its lowest in behaviors and health outcomes, at 47th and 46th respectively. Kentucky ranked 39th in clinical care measures, and 26th in the community and environment category. The highest ranking Kentucky has achieved since 1990 was 39th in 2008.
Below is a statement from Ben Chandler, President and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, about this report:
"Kentucky made progress in some areas, including expanding the number of residents with health insurance, but drug deaths are up dramatically, and our high rate of obesity remains a challenge. Our high smoking rate is a plague we know how to address, however. It's a huge contributing factor to our ranking as the cancer capital of the nation and our inability to reduce low birthweight babies, heart disease and premature death. Smoking rates declined 2 percent nationally since last year, but only 1.4 percentage points in Kentucky. Raising the tobacco tax by at least $1 and enacting more smoke-free laws in counties and cities across the Commonwealth are two measures that will kick-start a greater decline in smoking rates and better health."
About the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested nearly $26.7 million in health policy research and advocacy, as well as demonstration project grants across the Commonwealth. Funded by an endowment, the mission of the nonpartisan Foundation is to address the unmet health needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Follow the Foundation on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and visit our website at www.healthy-ky.org.
Bonnie J. Hackbarth