A new report by the nonprofit United Health Foundation (UHF) has nearly nothing but bad news for Michiganders when comparing the healthiness of our state vs. other U.S. states and developed countries across the globe.
In key health and wellness categories such as infant mortality and adult obesity, Michigan ranks below Slovenia, Hungary and Iceland.
Compared to the other 50 states, Michigan ranks overall at 35th, though we’re still ahead of Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas and Mississippi.
The annual study found that Michigan is not among the best or worst states in nearly any of the numerous health categories researched. We’re just below average in almost everything.
The state ranks badly in smoking rates, heavy drinking, obesity and “physically inactive” lifestyles. Other areas where the Mitten State gets a slap in the face range from air pollution and violent crime to infant mortality and low birth-weight babies.
But we also take up the rear in basic categories such as premature deaths, heart disease, cancer deaths and mental health episodes. Given all these numbers, it should come as no surprise that the Great Lakes State was listed 41st in public health funding.
Our state’s core health care system might share little blame as two of Michigan’s best rankings nationwide included the number of family physicians and dentists per 100,000 residents. We are not spread thin.
Closer to home, in the Upper Midwest, Michigan ranked well below other states such as Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Pennsylvania in overall health.
If you think these state-by-state comparisons have little meaning, consider this: the data in the annual UHF report revealed that someone living in Kentucky is 55 percent more likely to die from cancer than a person living in Utah. A resident of Mississippi is 85 percent more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than someone living in Minnesota. If you live in West Virginia, you are more than twice as likely to have diabetes as someone living in Colorado.
The top states in the UHF study shaped up this way: Massachusetts, Hawaii, Vermont, Utah and Connecticut.
Those dragging the bottom: Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama and West Virginia.