A report that ranks states and counties based on their residents’ health, shows Indiana does not meet the national benchmark in any major health categories.
The County Health Rankings report compares counties against national benchmarks—a ranking that uses the top 10 percent of the healthiest counties in the country as the goal.
Angela Russel is an Associate Researcher with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. She says the national benchmarks aim to encourage counties to improve their health care systems.
“The whole point is to serve as a call to action to say that we’re going to improve the health of our nation from the ground up, and we want people to strive to be healthier,” she says. “That’s part of the reasons why we have that national benchmark there.”
State Health Commissioner William VanNess says while Indiana does not rank well against the national benchmarks, the state needs to improve its overall health one step at a time.
“Sometimes times it like, ‘how do you eat an elephant?’” he says. “Well, you eat him a bite at a time and so sometimes you have to start some place and when you hit that goal you have to continue to move the dial.
VanNess says Indiana ranks particularly low in obesity, child mortality rate and smoking.