The Oklahoma State Board of Health has released its 2011State of the State’s Health Report, which reviews key health indicators that contribute to Oklahoma’s overall health status. County-specific summaries are also available for each of the 77 counties.
Health indicators summarized in this report are similar to those seen in 2008 when data were last released, as major shifts in health status indicators rarely occur within a span of two or three years. Even so, Oklahoma’s overall health ranking has improved from 49th to 46th in the nation.
The report provides updates on several areas of concern including Oklahoma’s high prevalence of smoking and obesity, limited access to prenatal care and availability of primary care physicians, and high rates of preventable hospitalizations and cardiovascular disease.
As a state, Oklahoma has fewer babies that survive their first birthday and a life expectancy for residents that is shorter than almost every other state in the country. Significant health disparities exist for those Oklahomans who earn $25,000 per year or less and among those with a high school education or less – both critical social determinants of health that the report says should not be overlooked.
“These findings document that for our health outcomes to improve, it will take the collaboration of many partners and sustained long-term commitments to help Oklahoma create a state of health,” said Board President Dr. Jenny Alexopulos.
The report highlights some bright spots in the state’s health status such as childhood immunizations. Oklahoma is among the top 20 states for children immunized between the ages of 19 months and 35 months. Another positive note is that Oklahoma’s rate of uninsured adults, ages 18 to 64, continues to decrease, due in part to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority’s “Insure Oklahoma” program, which has expanded health care coverage for many Oklahomans who could not afford health care otherwise.
In addition, while one out of four Oklahomans continues to smoke, fewer youth are using tobacco and more Oklahomans are quitting tobacco use through tobacco use prevention and cessation efforts funded by the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET), including community-based initiatives and the 1-800-Quit-Now helpline.
The 2011 State of the State’s Health Report, along with previous years’ reports, can be found on the Oklahoma State Department of Health website.