The latest edition of the America’s Health Rankings report is out — and though Missouri ranks 40th overall, the state is showing improvement in areas like volunteerism, colorectal cancer screening and the lower percentage of families facing serious housing problems.
Missouri is compared to neighboring large, mostly rural states, where urban areas are concentrated.
Dr. Peter Panagos, professor of emergency medicine and neurology at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, said that given Missouri’s diverse patient population, he is not surprised by the ranking.
But he also said that there are some positive things as well.
“We have a very high high school completion rate, we have very good income equality,” Panagos said. “We are a state that believes in helping others and our volunteer rate is quite high.”
The number of mental health care professionals in Missouri has also increased by nearly 40%.
MO HealthNet – Missouri’s Medicaid program – now provides access to behavioral health services to support mental health, drug and alcohol abuse issues.
Panagos said the report highlights opportunities in holistic lifestyle and public health decisions, such as fruit and vegetable consumption, use of tobacco products, and lack of exercise – all of which he says have an impact on heart and brain health. Is.
There are other important factors that contribute to the state’s ranking.
“As an emergency physician practicing in St. Louis, certainly I’m very, very, very aware of the impact of gun violence and the murder rates in our cities,” Panagos said. “A lot of this is driven by our urban centers and our access to firearms.”
Panagos said Missouri can use areas where neighboring states are doing better as a road map for improving health care systems, community support networks and overall public health.
The number of adults living with chronic health conditions in the United States is at an all-time high, said Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare Employers & Individuals, which produces the health rankings.
“For example, conditions like arthritis, diabetes, asthma, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, cancer,” Randall said, “conditions that can be well controlled with appropriate lifestyle modifications and treatment from your doctor.” Could.
He said the UHC report provides a big picture of the country’s challenges and strengths and what officials and people can do to build a better future. The report is at AmericasHealthRankings.org
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