New Jersey has more dentists per capita than any other state in the U.S., the second lowest rate of infectious disease and the third lowest rate of infant mortality.
These positive health measures are some of the reasons New Jersey earned its rank at number 11 on the United Health Foundation’s 2015 America’s Health Rankings®. But some health struggles facing New Jersey kept it out of the top 10.
Some of New Jersey’s health challenges include:
- A rise in the rate of obesity to 26.9 percent of adults.
- An increase in the percentage of adults with diabetes to 9.7 percent.
- A low rate of childhood vaccinations, a significant drop from recent years and putting it in 40th place on this year’s report. In the state, only 67.2 percent of children ages 19 to 35 months receive the recommended vaccinations.
- Drug deaths, which increased 90 percent from 6.9 to 13.1 per 100,000 people.
Now in its 26th year, America’s Health Rankings is a useful perspective not only on how New Jersey’s health has changed in the past year, but over the past decades in good ways and bad. The report is designed to provide stakeholders (individuals, clinicians, public health officials) with a comprehensive set of health, environmental and socioeconomic data on which to take action when considering their personal health and the health of the overall New Jersey community.
Overall, the report shows that in 2015 Americans are making meaningful progress on key health metrics including smoking less and leading less sedentary lives. New Jersey is headed in the right direction in many ways, and doing a better job of delivering health services that address key issues such as dental care, infectious disease and infant mortality. But troubling statistics like the steady rise in rates of obesity and diabetes indicate that we’re not doing a good job at practicing healthy behaviors in our everyday lives.
As we look ahead to 2016, the rankings are a guide to show us areas in which we need to improve and the successes upon which we can continue to build. UnitedHealthcare will continue to develop innovative programs designed to address New Jersey’s health challenges and help educate people about living healthier lives.
For more information about the rankings, visit www.americashealthrankings.org.