Study Highlights Health Disparities Between States, Need for Disease Prevention

More action is needed to address health disparities, risk factors, and social determinants of health, as well as disease prevention.

Which state you reside in in the United States is a factor in your risk of suffering from disease, disability, and cause of death, according to the latest annual study that looks at 195 locations around the world. And while health has improved across much of the nation, some states saw stark rises in “diseases of despair,” with large increases in drug and alcohol use disorders, obesity, high body mass index (BMI), poor diet, and diabetes.

The overall death rate fell to 578 per 100,000 people from 745 per 100,000 in 1990, according to a study published today in JAMA.

The authors said more action is needed to address health disparities, risk factors, and social determinants of health, and that the nation needs to focus more on disease prevention, including an effort to include such measures in payment systems.

The study was released as CMS turned over more control of health insurance handled through the exchanges created through Affordable Care Act­ (ACA) back to the states. The ACA has been credited with lowering the uninsurance rate in the United States to historic lows and providing insurance to people who did not have it before.

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