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Here’s something to get up and shake your legs about: The District is beating U.S. national averages on obesity, excessive drinking, and poor physical health days, according to a report out today by the United Health Foundation.
Specifically, the report finds that 21.7 percent of D.C. residents are obese as compared with 29.6 percent nationally; 16.4 percent smoke as compared with 18.1 percent nationally; and 20.8 percent are physically inactive as compared with 22.6 nationally. Still, the report notes that D.C.’s “high violent crime rate, low rate of high school graduation, [and] high prevalence of low birth rate” may be causes for concern; additionally, D.C. records 14.9 drug deaths per 100,000 people versus 13.5 across the country, and 7.3 deaths per 1,000 live births versus 6 across the country. (Hawaii was ranked as the healthiest state in the report; the District wasn’t ranked because it’s disproportionately urban.)
“Nationwide, we made notable improvements in preventable hospitalizations, sedentary behavior and decreases in cigarette smoking,” says Rhonda Randall, a senior advisor to United Health Foundation and a Chief Medical Officer at UnitedHealthcare. “These are all encouraging signs. However, these gains are set against a backdrop where complex health challenges are compromising our nation’s health. Notably, the rates of drug deaths, obesity, and children in poverty are on the rise.”
The report relies on various government data sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Center for Education Statistics, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It tracked “core measures” for all 50 states plus the District: behavior, community and environment, policy, clinical care, and outcomes. Here are some of the other major highlights for D.C. based on health trends over time, per UHF:
• “In the past year, HPV immunization among females aged 13 to 17 years increased 88% from 30.2% to 56.9%.
• In the past 2 years, drug deaths increased 57% from 9.5 to 14.9 per 100,000 population.
• In the past 2 years, smoking decreased 16% from 19.6% to 16.4% of adults.
• In the past 5 years, preventable hospitalizations decreased 26% from 55.3 to 40.7 per 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries.
• In the past 10 years, infant mortality decreased 28% from 10.1 to 7.3 deaths per 1,000 live births.”
You can read the full report here.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery