The health ranking for individual states is comprised of about 30 different categories, covering high school graduation rate, violent crime statistics, smoking and obesity prevalence, air pollution, health coverage, diabetes and sexually transmitted diseases to name a few.
The UHF said Nevada made progress in smoking and binge drinking prevalence rates, decreasing the numbers by 4.8 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively, from 2012. Nevada also showed low incidence of infectious disease and moderate prevalence of diabetes.
The UHF stated in its report that low graduation rates and high violent crime rates were two challenges Nevada has for the future. The graduation rate totaled 57.8 percent for ninth graders who graduate in four years with a regular degree. The violent crime, defined as the number of murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults, registered 607.6 per 100,000 people statewide.
A major factor in Nevada’s health ranking was the economic environment, which consists of annual unemployment and underemployment rates and median household income. Nevada’s unemployment rate was reported at 11 percent compared to the nation’s 8.1 percent, and the underemployment rate was 20.3 percent compared to the nation’s 14.7 percent. Median household income in Nevada was a little more than $3,000 less than the national average, totaling $47,043.
Other notable Nevada statistics from the UHF report include:
- Obesity is lower than the median state, totaling 26.2 percent or 560,000 people.
- In the past five years the rate of preventable hospitalization decreased by 14 percent.
- In the past five years the uninsured population increased from 18.4 to 23 percent.
- In the past 10 years the rate of children (17 and younger) in poverty increased from 9.1 percent to 22.7 percent.
- In the past 10 years the rate of cardiovascular deaths decreased by 25 percent and now totals 271.9 deaths per 100,000 people.
The states neighboring Nevada all ranked higher in overall health in 2013 with Arizona coming closest at 28th and California not far behind at 21st. Oregon and Idaho cracked the top 20 coming in at 13th and 12th, respectively, and Utah was ranked sixth overall behind the top five of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Vermont and Hawaii.
Mississippi was ranked 50th this year as the least healthy state, followed in order by Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama and West Virginia rounding out the bottom five.
The UHF cited notable progress in smoking and obesity rates declining with about 21 percent of people smoking and about 23 percent of people being obese. The decline in obesity rates marked the first time since 1998 that numbers did not increase.
“I am encouraged by the progress we’ve made this year and hope that the leveling off we see in America’s obesity rate is a sign of further improvement to come,” said Reed Tuckson, M.D., external senior medical adviser to United Health Foundation. “We should certainly celebrate these gains. They encourage us to continue to identify and effectively implement best practices that will continue progress in these areas and in addressing diabetes, heart disease and other chronic health conditions that compromise Americans’ health and vitality.”