Idaho is a vibrant, growing, state with lots to offer its’ residents. I’ve been fortunate to live here for much of my life and greatly enjoy the people, along with its many outdoor activities. Thus, I’m always interested in getting a “pulse” on the state – especially when it pertains to health.
One such source is the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, which is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. This program assesses multiple data sources to evaluate health factors (i.e., health behaviors, clinical care, social & economic factors, & physical environment) and health outcomes (i.e., length of life & quality of life) to provide a county health ranking per state. Thus, I will highlight a few of the findings from the 2017 County Health Rankings: Idaho report to see how Idaho compares to the US median on several measures.
Of course, we should start with the premise that the health of US citizens is substantially lower than many other industrialized nations. But, to my knowledge, a comparison of Idaho to other countries does not exist, so instead comparisons will be made to the US median.
Below are a few of the findings from the report:
- The number of preventable hospital stays for ambulatory-care sensitive conditions per 1000 Medicare enrollees is 32 (vs 56)
- The percentage of children under the age of 18 in poverty is 18% (vs 22%)
- The percentage of adults that report a BMI > 30 is 28% (vs 31%)
- The percentage of the population with adequate access to locations for physical activity is 75% (vs 62%)
- The percentage of newly diagnosed chlamydia cases per 100,000 population is 337.6 (vs 294.8)
- The percentage of the population under age 65 without health insurance is 16% (vs 14%)
- The number of reported violent crime offenses per 100,000 population is 212 (vs 198)
- The percentage of households with overcrowding, high housing costs, or lack of kitchen or plumbing facilities is 16% (vs 14%)
Overall, Idaho is doing better than the US median on the majority of measures, but we can always do better.