America’s Health Rankings Annual Report: Finds Wisconsin ranks 24th among all U.S. states in overall health

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-Wisconsin’s strengths include high rate of high school graduation, low percentage of uninsured population and high immunization among adolescents for Tdap; weaknesses are high prevalence of excessive drinking, low per capita public health funding and high prevalence of obesity

-Nationwide, Americans are smoking less and living less sedentary lives, but rising rates of drug deaths – including illegal and prescription drug abuse – diabetes, obesity and children in poverty threaten nation’s health

-United Health Foundation to publish new reports in 2016 to offer more information to help improve public health

MILWAUKEE (Dec. 10, 2015) – In the country’s annual health checkup, Wisconsin ranks 24 this year when compared with other states – according to United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings® Annual Report.

The report’s national data show that in 2015, Americans are making meaningful progress on key health metrics including smoking less and leading less sedentary lives, but rising rates of drug deaths – including deaths from illegal drug use and prescription drug abuse – obesity, diabetes and children in poverty signal serious challenges ahead. United Health Foundation produces the America’s Health Rankings Annual Report to provide actionable, data-driven insights that stakeholders can use to effect change in a state or nationally.

Wisconsin’s overall health

The 2015 America’s Health Rankings Annual Report finds Wisconsin has a combination of strengths and challenges.

Wisconsin’s Strengths

· High rate of high school graduation

· Low percentage of uninsured population

· High immunization among adolescents for Tdap (combination vaccine that protects against three potentially life-threatening bacterial diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough)

· In the past year, HPV (human papillomavirus) immunization among females aged 13 to 17 years increased 11 percent from 36.8 percent to 40.9 percent.

· In the past five years, preventable hospitalizations decreased 20 percent from 60.0 to 47.9 per 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries.

Key Wisconsin challenges addressed by UnitedHealthcare and Optum programs

UnitedHealthcare and Optum watch America’s Health Rankings to better understand the health of individuals and communities across the nation and in Wisconsin. UnitedHealthcare and Optum have several programs that address the nation’s health challenges at a state level, designed to help educate people about living healthier lives, and empower stakeholders to act to improve health across Wisconsin’s communities.

UnitedHealthcare has collaborated with various coalitions, including the American Lung Association of Wisconsin, providing resources to help low-income children living with asthma. Additionally, UnitedHealthcare has supported efforts by the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ) to improve immunizations and preventive screenings. Other resources include:

· Innovations to make health care decisions easier: UnitedHealthcare’s myHealthcare Cost Estimator tool shows consumers both quality and cost measures associated with the most common medical procedures, allowing consumers the opportunity to make more informed decisions about their care. In addition, UnitedHealthcare’s Health4Me app provides instant access to information such as nearby physicians, the status of a claim, or direct communication with a nurse.
· Wellness incentives: UnitedHealthcare’s wellness plans provide incentives and tools such as discounts on health premiums health and wellness products such as vitamins or new tennis shoes, at-home biometric screening kits, and one-on-one coaching to help people achieve their health goals.
· Baby Blocks: UnitedHealthcare’s Baby Blocks program is an interactive incentive program that helps pregnant women and new parents with prenatal and well-baby care. Women who enroll in Baby Blocks can earn rewards for completing prenatal, postpartum and health-baby appointments. Users access interactive “baby blocks” via the mobile web app on the iPhones and Android smartphones that shows their prenatal visits, and opportunities to earn rewards for following prenatal and postnatal visit schedules.

“For the last 26 years, the America’s Health Rankings Annual Report has provided a comprehensive picture of the challenges and opportunities facing Wisconsin’s health, and where we stand against our peer states and the nation at large,” said Dr. Bruce Weiss, vice president of healthcare strategies with UnitedHealthcare of Wisconsin. “We look forward to using this year’s report to continue identifying best practices that address Wisconsin’s most pressing health challenges and encourage our residents to lead the healthiest lives possible.”

“This year’s America’s Health Rankings Annual Report reveals many encouraging gains in our nation’s health while showing clearly there is much more we as a country must do to maximize our health potential,” said Reed Tuckson, M.D., external senior medical adviser to United Health Foundation. “This report is a call to action to make disease prevention a key component of our culture. We want to ensure everybody – no matter what state they call home – is empowered to make healthy decisions for themselves, their families and their communities.”

Wisconsin was ranked 23rd last year. To see the national and state rankings in detail, visitwww.americashealthrankings.org.

United Health Foundation to publish new reports in 2016 to offer more information to help improve public health

In 2016, United Health Foundation will introduce a new suite of reports and year-round information on key health behaviors, conditions and populations to amplify stakeholders’ efforts as they work to effect change across states and communities. This will include:

· New reports on selected populations. America’s Health Rankings will expand its publication of reports on select populations. In addition to the America’s Health Rankings Annual Report and America’s Health Rankings Senior Report, America’s Health Rankings will issue new annual reports on the health of mothers and children, and the health of the nation’s veterans.

· New spotlight reports on key public health topics. America’s Health Rankings will issue several “spotlight” reports over the course of the year focused on important markers of the nation’s health, such as substance abuse, prevention, healthy lifestyles and mental health.

About America’s Health Rankings® Annual Report
America’s Health Rankings Annual Report is the longest-running report of its kind. It is published by United Health Foundation in partnership with the American Public Health Association. For 26 years, the America’s Health RankingsAnnual Report has provided an analysis of national health on a state-by-state basis by evaluating a historical and comprehensive set of health, environmental and socioeconomic data to determine national health benchmarks and state rankings. The America’s Health Rankings Annual Report employs a unique methodology, developed and annually reviewed and overseen by a Scientific Advisory Committee of leading public health scholars. For more information, visit www.americashealthrankings.org.

The data in the report come from well-recognized outside sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Medical Association, FBI, Dartmouth Atlas Project, U.S. Department of Education and Census Bureau.

About United Health Foundation
Through collaboration with community partners, grants and outreach efforts, United Health Foundation works to improve our health system, build a diverse and dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being of local communities. United Health Foundation was established by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation dedicated to improving health and health care. To date, United Health Foundation has committed more than $285 million to programs and communities around the world. We invite you to learn more atwww.unitedhealthfoundation.org