By Morgan True, VTDigger.org
For the second consecutive year, Vermont ranks as the second-healthiest state in the U.S., according to America’s Health Rankings 2014 report.
The report was is based on an evaluation of four categories of health determinants including behaviors, community and environment, clinical care and policy as well as the health outcomes those determinants yield.
Vermont ranked first in many of those determinants, but 10th overall for outcomes. Hawaii ranked third for determinants and first for outcomes to achieve a better overall score.
Vermont has the nation’s best rate of high school graduation — 93 percent; second-lowest percent of children living in poverty — 12.1 percent; and second lowest rate of violent crime — 143 offenses per 100,000 population, according to the report.
Vermont also had the fourth-lowest rate for low birth weight babies and physical inactivity.
“We’re continually ranked among the healthiest states. But we also have significant public health challenges, such as the steady climb in obesity and too low childhood immunization rates,” said Tracy Dolan, acting health commissioner.
Vermont’s obesity rate is seventh-lowest in the nation but has climbed steadily since 1990 from nearly 11 percent to 24.7 percent. The percentage of children age 19 to 25 months who were fully immunized in 2013 was 67 percent. That is a 4 percent increase from 2012, but Vermont ranks 37th in the nation for immunization rates.
The Health Department, in collaboration with many Vermont organizations, is working to reverse these trends, according to a news release highlighting the report.