For 30 years, America’s Health Rankings has played a leading role in raising awareness of the changing public health landscape. Today, the United Health Foundation released the 2019 America’s Health Rankings® Annual Report – the 30th edition of the report

2019 America’s Health Rankings: This Year’s Progress and Challenges

The 2019 America’s Health Rankings shows that, since the 2018 report, improvements have been made in lowering rates of smoking, infant mortality and children in poverty. Yet the nation continues to face ongoing challenges related to obesity and diabetes, and more recent challenges with rising rates of suicide and drug deaths.

Key findings from America’s Health Rankings 30 years of data include:

  • Smoking among adults has decreased 45% since 1990. Today, 16.1% of adults report that they smoke. (Note: Data from 36 states on adult e-cigarette use has been added this year.)
  • Infant mortality has decreased 43% since 1990, with declines in all 50 states. 
  • Obesity has increased 166% over the past 30 years, from 11.6% to 30.9%.
  • Diabetes has reached the highest prevalence since 1996, the first year America’s Health Rankings tracked it, increasing 148% among adults. 
  • The national suicide rate has increased 17% since 2012.
  • Drug deaths have increased 104% since 2007.

The Mission of America’s Health Rankings

Produced by the United Health Foundation, this year in partnership with the American Public Health Association, the America’s Health Rankings Annual Report drives change to improve health through actionable data. The report was created with the understanding that, as stated by the World Health Organization, “health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not just the absence of disease or infirmity.” The model and measures included in the report have evolved as the understanding of public health has advanced.

Since 1990, America’s Health Rankings has reported critical health issues so the public health community can take action. “Over the past 30 years, the understanding and science of public health has changed dramatically,” said Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare and advisor to America’s Health Rankings. “Many health issues that were concerning in 1990 remain so today, and additional issues have arisen that require action today. America’s Health Rankings will continue to provide evolving state and national snapshots of health to inform and drive action to build healthier communities.”

Click here to read the Executive Highlights that distills key findings from the past 30 years and this year. 

“Despite many successes, our country has work to do to ensure every person, regardless of where you live, has an equal opportunity to live a long and healthy life,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director, American Public Health Association, which partnered with United Health Foundation to produce the 2019 America’s Health Rankings Annual Report

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