America's Health Rankings is a way for each state to see how it compares to the rest of the country when talking about health. For the past six years Louisiana has not been higher than 47th and has been last or tied for last place for the last two years:
So the question then becomes, WHY?
If we look at the top 5 causes of death in the United States for 2010, this is what we see:
- Heart disease: 597,689
- Cancer: 574,743
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 138,080
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 129,476
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 120,859
The top four causes have preventable risk factors associated with them.
This graph better illustrates exactly how each risk factor contributes to these deaths:
Deaths attributable to total effects of individual risk factors:
From this we can see that three out of the top four risk factors are either related to tobacco use or obesity/physical inactivity.
Louisiana is 45th in the nation for smoking prevalence and 49th for obesity.
So when we look at all this information together it is easy to see why the HCC is focusing its efforts on tobacco and obesity/physical activity. These are the things that make us sick and kill us - and in large part they are preventable!
Question: Does this mean that all we can work on is tobacco and obesity?
There are many other behaviors and environmental factors that also affect our health and well-being in this state. We encourage each community to find those things and work to make them better.