South Carolina’s poor performance in health care received renewed attention in United Health’s 2011 America’s Health Rankings. South Carolina was ranked 45th of 50 states for population health.The rank represents a drop from 2010 when the state was 40th. High rates of obesity, poverty and disparities in health care access led to the state’s poor showing.
The rankings, generated by using national data from the CDC, FBI and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, examined rates of smoking, drinking, high school graduation, and preventable hospitalizations, in addition to community factors and infant mortality rates.
While South Carolina did better than average in some categories, with good scores on binge drinking and child immunization, the state scored below average in almost all other factors. South Carolina ranked 47th in obesity, with 32% of the population considered clinically obese.The state also ranked poorly in mental health, prenatal care, number of primary care physicians and infant mortality.
The ten bottom ranking states were Missouri, West Virginia, Nevada, Kentucky, Texas, South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The top healthiest states were: Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Utah, Maine, Colorado, and Rhode Island.
United Health hopes the survey will draw attention to ways states can improve the health of their population. The report states, “The ultimate purpose of America’s Health Rankings is to stimulate action by individuals, elected officials, medical professionals, public health professionals, employers, educators and communities to improve the health of the population of the United States..