By Stephanye R. Clarke
Connecticut is among the top five healthiest states and is up three spots from last year.
While this is positive news, it is critical that we remember that Connecticut residents still face great disparities in health status. As an example, the following are disparities in obesity rates listed within this latest report (the disparities in health outcomes by county can be found in a map by County Health Rankings):
- Racial/Ethnic disparities
- Black (32.5%), Hispanic (32.8%) and White (23.3%)
- Urban (27.3%), Suburban (24.6%) and Rural (22.7%)
- <$25,000 (33.8%)
- $25,000-$49,000 (27.8%)
- $50,000-$74,000 (24.5%)
- $75,000+ (22.8%)
- Educational attainment
- Did not finish high school (30.5%)
- High school graduate (30.1%)
- Some college (30.3%)
- College graduate (19.2%)
We can do something to begin to close some of these gaps.
Preventive screenings and care are covered under the Affordable Care Act—this is a message we must share widely. This one small step has the capacity to (1) prevent or delay the onset of chronic disease (2) better manage chronic disease (3) reduce prevalence of emergency visits as a way to manage chronic disease (4) reduce chronic disease mortality rates.
There are many other ways to get and keep Connecticut residents healthy, and while we celebrate our national ranking, we cannot afford to become complacent either. Not when we still have these statistics out there.