|By Joey Holleman, The State (Columbia, S.C.)|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The annual rankings, released Wednesday by
But this year the report gave a shoutout to
Most of that improvement is related to the
"Those are the people the state has said are most in need of our help," Keck said. "If we made that promise to help them, we've got to meet it."
And especially in the case of the children, the extra expenditure is cost-effective. Most of the payout for youngsters is for preventive care, which has a high return when those children are healthier adults, Keck said.
The state had a long way to go when it came to uninsured statistics. Even with the remarkable drop last year, the percentage of South Carolinians without health insurance increased by 4.7 percent in the past decade as residents lost jobs in the recession. That ranks as the second worst drop over the past decade among states, according to the report.
Keck said the most troubling statistic for the state is the continuing uptick in obesity, up to 31.6 of the adult population, ranking 44th among states. "That's our single biggest problem because obesity is a precursor of even worse health outcomes to come," Keck said.
Obesity leads to higher rates of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer.
The report for the first time broke out youth immunization rates into two categories -- children ages 19-35 months and adolescents ages 13-17.
Keck said his agency had noticed similar problems in other statistical analyses, and a fix is in the works. The state's
The full report is available at www.americashealthrankings.org.
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