September 17, Wisconsin Health News
Wisconsin's ranking for the health of women and children dropped compared to other states last year, according to a new report from the United Health Foundation.
Wisconsin is ranked 19th in the nation in the report, down five spots from last year. That was one of the largest drops in the country.
Among the biggest drivers for the decrease is the amount of excessive drinking among Wisconsin women and a lower percentage of children with adequate health insurance, both of which were among the bottom 10 in the nation.
Wisconsin also saw an increase in the number of teen suicides. The number of deaths per 100,000 adolescents between ages 15 to 19 has increased from 10.6 deaths to 13.8 deaths over the past three years.
“A 30 percent increase is certainly concerning,” said Dr. Linda Genen, chief medical director of women’s health for Optum, and a member of the United Health Foundation.
In Wisconsin’s favor is the low rate of diabetes among women, which is fifth-best in the nation.
The state is also top 10 in terms of having a higher number of cervical cancer screenings, a higher number of women having dedicated healthcare providers, a lower percentage of households with food insecurity, a higher percentage of prenatal care before the third trimester and a lower percentage of low-risk cesarean deliveries.
“There are certain strengths that are coming through as well,” Genen said. She added that potential steps for improvement could include policymakers taking steps to increase insurance availability for children.
The report ranked Rhode Island as the top state for women and children’s health. Mississippi was ranked at the bottom.