On Your Health

Check back to the INTEGRIS On Your Health blog for the latest health and wellness information for all Oklahomans, published three times a week.

Oklahoma's Latest Health Rankings

Here we are in early 2018, which means the United Health Foundation recently released its America’s Health Rankings® Annual Report. The report, which featured 2017 data, ranked Oklahoma number 43 in the nation in terms of health. We’re breaking down the data and highlighting some interesting facts about Oklahoma citizens included in the report.

health across oklahoma infographic 

Overall, our health is moving in a positive direction — moving up from number 46 in 2016 to number 43, bypassing Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Report highlights

Many citizens are pleased to see their fellow Oklahomans are smoking less. In fact, over the past five years, smoking has decreased 25 percent. In 2017, only 19.6 percent of Oklahoma adults smoked, ranking us 36th in the nation. 

Over-consumption of alcohol has also gone down. In 2017, the state saw a decrease from 17.3 percent of Oklahomans participating in this behavior to 12.8 percent. This ranks us number two in the nation for not drinking alcohol to excess. Well done Oklahoma!

We’re having babies at healthy weights. We’ve seen a 1.4 percent decrease in children being born underweight. 

We rank 30th nationwide for high school graduates, with 82.5 percent of high school students graduating within four years of starting ninth grade.

As far as the environment, we come in at number 30 for air pollution. Even though we aren’t a huge city, we still have an average of 8.1 per cubic meter of exposure to particulate matter in the air. 

Physical and behavioral challenges

Now that we’ve seen the highlights, let’s look at some of our challenges as a state in the areas of physical, mental, clinical and death outcomes. 

Oklahomans are still overweight — 32.8 percent of us to be exact. That puts us at number 42 in the nation for obesity. We are slightly under other states like West Virginia and Mississippi, specifically in adults between the ages of 45-64.

As expected, with higher obesity numbers, we also have a higher percentage of Oklahomans with diabetes. Twelve percent of our state has diabetes, making us number 41 in the nation.

As far as physical activity, 29.5 percent of adults reported participating in no physical activity or exercise other than their regular job in the past 30 days.

Mental health challenges

Oklahoma has one of the highest rates of frequent mental distress, placing us at number 46. In 2017, 14.3 percent of Oklahoma adults reported their mental health was not good 14 or more days in the past 30 days.

Interestingly enough, we also have one of the highest numbers of mental health providers in the nation, ranking us at number five with 383 therapists per 100,000 people. In the report, mental health providers include psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, counselors, marriage and family therapists, providers that treat alcohol and other drug abuse and advanced practice nurses specializing in mental health care.

Clinical care challenges

Oklahoma ranks 48th in the nation for people that are uninsured. This number reflects the 13.8 percent of the population that does not have health insurance privately, through their employer or through the government.

On top of that, 15.9 percent of our population is being hospitalized for preventable causes. Preventable hospitalizations are excess hospital admissions for unsuccessfully maintained chronic conditions or acute illnesses where hospitalization may have been prevented if the condition had been maintained in an outpatient setting.

But we do take care of our teeth, with 49.6 percent of dentists per 100,000 people in our state.

Death outcomes in Oklahoma

We rank 48th in the nation for cardiovascular deaths and are up 4 percent from 2016. Although this number is high, heart disease and stroke are the United States’ leading and fifth-leading causes of death, respectively — accounting for 633,00 and 140,000 deaths annually.

Sadly, infant mortality rates are up in Oklahoma. Per every 1,000 live births, 7.7 children die before age one, ranking us number 47 nationally.

We also have a lot of construction accidents. Oklahoma sees 8.1 occupational deaths per 100,000 workers, which puts us at number 47 overall.

Lastly, cancer is another big killer in Oklahoma, we rank 45th overall for cancer deaths in the nation.

Summing it up

All in all, our health is improving enough to bump us up three spots this past year. However, we still have a long road ahead of us in 2018 as we strive to improve our rankings. If you’re interested in living a healthier life, the INTEGRIS On Your Health blog has a library of health-related resources to help you become a better you.

 

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