Report ranks Wisconsin slightly higher for health measures

A new report from UnitedHealthcare ranks Wisconsin slightly higher for measures of health this year than in 2016, the last time this report was created.

America’s Health Rankings provides a picture of health for women and children across the country based on 62 indicators. The United Health Foundation looks at environment, clinical care, behaviors, policies and concrete outcomes to understand the health of these populations on the national level, but also state by state.

Wisconsin was ranked 14th in this most recent report, up from 15th in 2016. Some of the state’s measures improved, while others worsened slightly.

The percentage of uninsured women aged 18-44 went down from 10.3 percent to 7 percent, and tobacco use during pregnancy decreased from 13.1 percent to 12 percent of live births.

Infant mortality went from 6 deaths to 5.8 deaths per 1,000 live births. But maternal mortality increased from 13.6 deaths to 14.3 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Meningococcal immunization among adolescents aged 13-17 increased from 73.8 percent to 85.6 — but teen suicide increased from 10.6 to 13.2 deaths per 100,000 adolescents aged 15-19.

Both in Wisconsin and for the entire country, the percentage of infants exclusively breastfed for six months has risen — 27.7 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

Nationwide, drug deaths among women aged 15-44 are up 20 percent, while tobacco use has declined 10 percent among women 18-44.

Teen suicide also increased on the national scale, 6 percent for adolescents aged 15-19. But teen births declined 8 percent nationally.

The top five ranked states are: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Minnesota.

Maternal mortality has increased 4 percent nationally, but the report notes notable disparities between states and among races and ethnicities. While this report shows Wisconsin’s racial disparities in child mortality, other reports have revealed other major health care gaps in the state.

See a 2017 report on this issue from UW-Madison’s Center on Wisconsin Strategy, which shows inequality in health insurance coverage:

See the America’s Health Rankings 2018 report on Wisconsin:

–By Alex Moe