Opinion

Health report points out need for more resolve

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch 

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — As the new year approaches, anyone in the Tri-State on the fence about whether to resolve to live healthier in 2015 might want to consider the findings of the 25th annual America’s Health Rankings presented by the United Health Foundation and its partners.

While the 2014 report, released earlier this month, notes some progress across the nation as a whole and in our states, it also spells out many factors where health outcomes and lifestyle factors in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky need plenty of attention if our collective health is going to get better.

West Virginia, for example, escaped the “bottom five” states, barely, by improving its rank to 44th, an indication that plenty of challenges remain. Kentucky, however, moved into the bottom five, falling from 45th the year before to 47th in 2014. Ohio fares a little better, ranking 40th this year, although the report noted that it has fallen from 27th since the first rankings were released in 1990.

All three states are beset by many of the same problems, according to the report, which examines a broad range of factors affecting people’s health. Those range from lifestyle choices, to availability of care, to rates of various diseases and causes of death, to the types of food we eat, to the level of funding for public health initiatives.

One particularly lethal factor is the number of drug-related deaths…

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