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Americans Living Longer, But Quality Of Life In Jeopardy

Susan NYC
flickr, Creative Commons

The 2012 edition of America's Health Rankings says medical advances are helping people live longer, but preventable illnesses and unhealthy behaviors are undermining the quality of that longer lifespan.

The big threats, according to the report from United Health Foundation, are obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and inactive lifestyles. Kansas ranks right in the middle of the 50 states, at 24th overall. However, Kansas has one of the highest obesity rates in the U.S., with more than 630,000 obese adults.

Over the past ten years, the percentage of Kansas children living in poverty has risen by more than half. The state ranks low in funding for public health, high in workplace fatalities, and is short of primary care doctors.

On the brighter side, Kansas has relatively low rates of binge drinking and low-birth weight babies, and a strong high school graduation rate. The report calls for all states to get serious about healthier lifestyles, or face a rising tide of preventable chronic illnesses.