New Health Report Identifies Need To Address Persistent Health Challenges Of Women And Children In The U.S. And Texas

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“The health of women and children impacts the overall health and economic strength of communities across the United States. While measurable progress has been made in recent years to monitor and improve health for women and children, the United Health Foundation’s ‘America’s Health Rankings 2021 Health of Women and Children Report’ highlights improvements, challenges and disparities in health and well-being across all 50 states.”

Dr. Ravi Johar, chief medical officer at United Healthcare, joined Studio 512 Co-Host Rosie Newberry to talk about the new report and break down its key findings and discuss what can be done to address the successes and challenges facing the health of women and children in Texas.

First, tell us more about this report. 

“Absolutely, and thank you for having me. This is the fifth edition of ‘America’s Health Rankings Health of Women and Children Report,’ developed by the United Health Foundation. As you just mentioned, the report examines overall health across the nation in the time leading up to, and early part of, the COVID-19 pandemic. The report found that disparities persist across a wide variety of measures, including in measures of physical and mental health among both women and children, in maternal and infant health and in measures that impact health such as education and poverty.”

“Understanding the health of women and children is especially important as both have faced a variety of increasing challenges, particularly in key measures of behavioral health. Physical health challenges, including obesity and lack of exercise, continue to impact Americans across subsequent generations, as well. The report also offers deeper insights than in previous reports into maternal health risks and other urgent public health issues. Additionally, it’s worth pointing out that while the report finds progress in some areas, like lower rates of teen births and the prevalence of cigarette smoking among women, progress has been stagnant in other key areas such as the number of low-birth-weight infants. Overall, the United Health Foundation released data on 118 measures. And data from the National Survey of Children’s Health captured insights from the early stages of the pandemic as they contain data from 2019 and 2020 (two-year averages). Measures collected from other sources pre-date the pandemic and can help inform a portrait of where the health of the nation’s women and children stood prior to the onset of the pandemic.”

What are the health strengths of Texas? 

“Well, the good news is that the High School graduation rate is 90%, and mental health providers increased 26% between 2016 and 2020 from 98.3 to 123.7 per 100,000 population.”

What are the health challenges in Texas or areas where we can improve upon? 

Dr. Ravi Johar said there are some challenges facing Texans that this report highlights, including:

  • Frequent mental distress increased 30% between 2014 and 2019 from 9.4% to 12.2% of adults
  • Diabetes increased 20% between 2011 and 2019 from 10.2% to 12.2% of adults
  • Suicide increased 20% between 2009 and 2018 from 11.8 to 14.2 deaths per 100,000 population 

To learn more about The United Health Foundation and their report on “America’s Health Rankings of Women and Children,” go to UHC.com and AmericasHealthRankings.org.

This segment is paid for by United Healthcare and is intended as an advertisement. Opinions expressed by the guest(s) on this program are solely those of the guest(s) and are not endorsed by this television station.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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