Hawai`i Moves to Top Spot in State Health Rankings

December 10, 2013, 7:01 PM HST (Updated December 11, 2013, 4:06 PM)
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Ranked in the top five healthiest states for the past decade, Hawai`i this year rose to the top spot in a survey conducted by the United Health Foundation.

The rankings in the “America’s Health Rankings: A Call to Action for Individuals & Their Communities” released today analyzes states based on data relating to behaviors, community and environment, health policies and clinical care.

Hawai`i scored well in such areas as obesity, smoking, preventable hospitalizations, state health officials said. It also had low rates of uninsured individuals and high rates of childhood immunizations.

Areas needing attention included binge drinking and occupational fatalities, as well as lower-than-average rates of high school graduation.

“This report is an important tool for focusing on meaningful programs to address our biggest challenges and to help us measure the progress we’ve made with our efforts to date,” Ron Fujimoto, chief medical officer for United Healthcare’s Community Plan for Hawai`i said in a statement issued today. “It gives us a nice picture of the health of our state compared with our region and our nation.”

State Health Director Loretta Fuddy said that the No. 1 ranking was encouraging.

“Even with our top ranking, there are serious public health challenges ahead of us and we cannot afford to be complacent with the issues of childhood obesity, chronic disease, mental health, and protecting our environment,” she said.

Fuddy also noted that some ethnic groups experience significantly worse health than the average.

“We need to pay attention to the areas and populations that aren’t enjoying good health status,” she said.

 Highlights of the determinants and outcomes that make up Hawaii’s top ranking are available at www.americashealthrankings.org.

Hawai`i came in second in the 2012 rankings and third in 2011.

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