Florida has dropped a spot to 33rd worst in national health rankings. A United Health Foundation report published today highlights the things Florida is doing right and wrong and some things the state can do to improve the health of its residents.
It’s not all gloomy news for Florida health. The state scores well in areas like obesity reduction, whooping cough and pollution levels. But the high school graduation rate in Florida ranks 42nd. Rhonda Randall, a physician with United Health Foundation, says graduation rate closely correlates with health and morbidity.
>“If you have less than a high school education, you are likely to live 5 years less than someone who has a college education. You are also more likely to write your health status as poor if you haven’t finished high school. And then, finally, as a nation, if people who haven’t finished high school were as healthy as people who have a college education, (then) we’d save a trillion dollars annually.”
The rate of new cases and prevalence of three different infectious diseases is one way the study tracked and ranked Florida health. Randall says this has caused Florida to rank dead last in food safety.
>“Salmonella is one of the three infection that we follow. The two other are chlamydia and pertussis (whooping cough). They are good markers for the types of different infection we can get. salmonella is one of the food borne illnesses. (So you’re right) Florida was ranked 50th in relation to that. So food safety would be something to take a look at.”
Randall says there are three main ways Florida could improve its health ranking.
>“I think the number one thing Florida needs to take a look at is improving its high school graduation rate. As individuals, the next thing would be, if we could get more physical activity. Then from a public policy standpoint; Florida is ranked 49th in the number of people who don’t have health insurance. I would look at that as well.”
Florida also ranks in the bottom third of states in percent of adults with diabetes.