Indiana needs to address its smoking, obesity and infant mortality rates, among other health issues. That’s the finding of a report the America’s Health Rankings released yesterday that ranks Indiana in the ten least healthy states in the nation.
Indiana retained last year’s ranking of the 41st healthiest state in the U.S.
Dr. Kristin Adams is the Director of the Office of Public Health Performance Management at the Indiana State Department of Health. She says the low ranking isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“Sometimes maintenance is a good sign,” Adams said. “Because that means you have stopped the downward movement and perhaps this is the next indication that we may start seeing a trend upward.”
The report named a variety of factors including infant mortality and low immunization coverage among children as concerning health issues.
Dr. Guy Shrake is the United Healthcare Market Medical Director for Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. He says while it’s hard to acknowledge a ranking on the lower end of the spectrum, national health reports serve an important function.
“It’s nice to look in the context of the entire state’s population because it gives us a chance to think about things at the policy level,” Shrake said. “Are there things that ought to be thought about across an entire state or region.”
And even though Indiana ranks relatively low, Shrake says the statistics aren’t necessarily more alarming than those of other states.