Health of Connecticut Drops Slightly as Disparities and Challenges Are Noticed

Connecticut is now the nation’s sixth healthiest state, dropping from number four in the previous year, according to state-by-state data compiled by the United Health Foundation in collaboration with the American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention.  Among the findings about Connecticut highlighted in the report, America’s Health Rankings, which was compiled in 2012:

  • While Connecticut has one of the lowest smoking rates in the U.S., there are 475,000 adults who still smoke.
  • In the past 5 years, the high school graduation rate declined from 80.7 percent to 75.4 percent of incoming ninth graders who graduate in four years.
  • In the past 10 years, the percentage of children in poverty increased from 8.9 percent to 14.3 percent of persons under the age of 18.
  • In the past 5 years, public health funding increased from $57 to $71 per person.
  • In the past 5 years, the rate of preventable hospitalizations decreased from 67.3 to 60.4 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees.
  • In the past year, the infant mortality rate decreased from 6.3 to 5.8 deaths per 1,000 live births.Connecticut State Health Rankings Inforgraphic

The state’s strengths, according to the report, include a low prevalence of smoking, low incidence of infectious disease, low rate of uninsured population and high immunization coverage.  Challenges facing Connecticut are the state’s moderate high school graduation rate and moderate levels of air pollution, the report noted.

Among the key health disparities highlighted from the Connecticut data, obesity is more prevalent among non-Hispanic blacks at 41.4 percent than Hispanics at 28.6 percent and non-Hispanic whites at 21.0 percent; and sedentary lifestyle is more prevalent among Hispanics at 27.5 percent than non-Hispanic whites at 19.9 percent.

Overall, Connecticut has consistently ranked in the top 10 among the states since 1994. Vermont topped the list for the fourth consecutive year in 2012.  New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Hawaii were deemed healthier than Connecticut.  An interactive web-based 3D chart provides comparisons among the states.

The reports’ authors state that the “ultimate purpose of America’s Health Rankings® is to stimulate action by individuals, elected officials, medical professionals, public health professionals, employers, educators, and communities to improve the health of the population of the United States.”