Hoosiers Continue Poor Health Trends

The United Health Foundation released their 2012 America’s Health Rankings and Indiana’s ranking has dropped from 37th to 41st in the United States.

According to the report, nearly 31% of Hoosiers are obese with a BMI of greater than 30. This trend has continued to increase – actually it has doubled since 1990 when obesity rates were slightly below 15%.

Since 2009, our over 18 population has shown steady declines in smoking, but that trend reversed in 2012 with a sharp increase from 21% to 25% of adults smoking regularly.

The upward trend in adult diabetes continued in 2012 with now over 10% of Hoosiers being diagnosed as diabetic.

The last four years has the Hoosier state drifting further and further behind national averages as the larger population trends toward becoming more health consciousness. The health and wellness leaders in our Hoosier state are failing in their mission.

According to worldwide statistics, America continues to spend more money on healthcare as a percentage of GDP than any other country and continues to have poor rankings:

Despite the highest per capita spending on health care, the U.S. doesn’t fare well in most comparisons to other developed countries. Key indicators of health and the health care system are substantially lower in the U.S. compared to other countries. The U.S. has some of the most state-of-the-art health care facilities, yet behavioral factors such as physical inactivity, smoking, and dietary choices, combined with disparities, result in poor performance. Innovative solutions from the individual to the national level are needed in order to address the health care challenges of the future.

Instead of wasting time and money fighting the Affordable Care Act, our political leaders in Washington should be refining our health care system and devoting dollars toward prevention and a healthy food delivery system.

We continue to believe that corporate profits are more important than public health. Our dollars and energy are spent on fixing people who have become sick. We are letting our food industry poison us with dollar menus comprised of sodium and fat and then spend thousands on prescriptions, hospitalizations, etc. This is unacceptable.

The impact of changing behaviors is huge. CDC estimates that if tobacco use, poor diet, and physical inactivity were eliminated, 80 percent of heart disease and stroke, 80 percent of Type 2 diabetes, and 40 percent of cancer would be prevented. Nearly 90% of all hospitalizations could be prevented.

With all the policies that have been a “priority” at our state legislature, our public health should be near the top. What was it in Indiana? As you’ve probably guessed by the outcomes – Indiana spends less per capita than nearly all states.

The Governor and all our legislators consider our public health a poor investment, and we are paying for it dearly and will continue to pay as preventable diseases will cost Hoosier families billions in the years to come. Instead of focusing on improving the health and wellness of Hoosiers, our body politic has been spending its time driving down wages which will only increase the already long lines to the drive thru windows.


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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.
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