There are nearly infinite ways to rank states against each other when it comes to an area as complex as health care. As Florida thought leaders prepare for this week’s AIF Health Care Affordability Summit, here are a few measures to consider, culled from Americas Health Rankings (United Health Foundation).
First, Florida’s obesity rate has started its first measurable decline in nearly a decade, falling a few points between 2010 and 2011. It is on this measure that Florida ranks most favorably against other states — coming it at No. 11.
One-quarter of Floridians have a body mass index (BMI) of 30.0 points or higher– down from a high of 27.2 percent in 2011. This is much higher than in 1992, when just 10.6 percent of Floridians were estimated to be obese.
While Florida may be improving in the obesity score department, the state’s rank on diabetes is anything but an improvement. Ranking in at No. 42 in the nation, 11.4 percent of Floridians are estimated to have diabetes, up from 10.4 percent in 2011 and 5.3 percent in 1996.
Florida’s second best ranking, relative to the U.S., falls in the percent of residents who smoke. Once again, the state has seen a drop from 19.3 percent in 2011 to 17.7 percent in 2013 — down from a high of 31.7 percent in 1990. On this measure, Florida ranks 15th in the nation.
Overall, Florida falls at No. 33 for the sum of various health factors compared with other states. The United Health Foundation cites Florida’s strengths as low prevalence of obesity, low levels of air pollution, and low incidence of pertussis infections.
Other notable improvements in Florida include the continued decline in violent crime, decreased rates of preventable hospitalizations for Medicare enrollees, and increased high school graduation rates.
Florida’s challenges are many, however. The state faces high rates of drug deaths and high percentages of uninsured. Florida also has a massive 32.7 percent gap in health disparity, with high school graduates reporting good or excellent health in far greater numbers than those with less than a high school education.