Thursday, August 04, 2005

Ranking Tennessee Women's Health

I just found this report, from the National Center for Health Statistics, titled "Women's Health and Mortality Chartbook" (data from 1999-2002) It includes state profiles (PDF) that rank the prevalence of a cause of death compared to other states and describes the percentage of women who have certain health risks or received specific preventive services. A high ranking (i.e., closer to 50) on the 1-50 scale means that more women die of something compared to women in other states.

Among the results:
  • TN ranks 28th or worse for every cause of death listed
  • TN ranks 50th for influenza/pneumonia deaths and stroke deaths, 49th for coronary heart disease, 45th for unintentional injuries(!), 42nd for diabetes-related causes of death, and 33rd for suicide.
  • 49% of women in TN had no leisure time physical activity, 40% were obese, and 48% had high blood pressure
  • TN women fared better on preventive services, with 70% of women or more receiving services such as pap smears, cholesterol tests, routine checkups, routine physicals, and mammograms.
  • TN did rank best (1) for binge drinking, and 2nd best for eating 5+ fruits/vegetables per day.
  • 88.9% had health insurance coverage

    I can't help looking at these numbers and thinking that there is a gap somewhere if women are regularly receiving preventive services, but health risks and cause of death rankings aren't better. The problem could be the in health care system, or the women's genetics and lifestyles, but I'm guessing it's a little of both.

    TN-specific health statistics (PDF) from the TN Dept of Health.
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