Earlier this week, the Des Moines Register published findings from United Health Foundation’s latest health report, stating that Iowa has dropped from 17th to 20th healthiest among the 50 states. The article states this report looks at many factors, with extra emphasis to characteristics and behaviors such as obesity, smoking, binge drinking and sedentary lifestyles. For the full article, click here.
Many of you may have concerns, as other reports showed Iowa moving up the healthiest state ladder, from 19th to 16th in the nation over the past year, with the announcement of our goal of becoming number 1 by 2016. In the article, Laura Jackson, a Wellmark vice president, addressed these findings stating that some of the data involved is several years old and unlikely reflective of the progress Iowa has made since the initiative began. The Healthiest State Initiative is using the Gallop-Healthways Well-being Index to measure the health status of each state. If you compare old data used in the United Health Foundation’s report, with previous years’ ranking from the Gallop-Healthways Well-Being Index, 20th vs. 19th fair similar.
The article continues to discuss differences between the data collecting techniques of the two reports. Dr. Miller-Meeks, director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, states that the United Health report recently changed its data collection methods and now calls cell phone numbers, which likely includes more surveys from younger generations, as compared to calling land line phone numbers in previous years.
While there seem to be differences between the two surveys calculating varying results, one things stands true; Iowa yet has many steps to take to move to the top of the healthiest state ranking by 2016. This goal is achievable and even over just the past year, Iowa businesses, organizations, schools and individuals have made this effort a priority. We will continue the fight against obesity, smoking, sedentary lifestyles and other negative lifestyle behaviors to climb to number 1! Encourage your friends, family and co-workers to do their part to better their personal health and the health of the great state of Iowa.