Mississippi ranks last in health rankings

Published 7:00 am Friday, December 15, 2017

As another year comes to a close and another round of health rankings was recently released.

It’s probably no surprise, but yet again Mississippi was ranked as the unhealthiest state in the nation.

And while our state did not fall  last in every category, several aspects, such as the lack of access to healthcare and other health related services in the Magnolia State, were contributing factors that resulted in our overall ranking.

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According to the Clarion Ledger’s coverage of the America’s Health Rankings report from 2017, Mississippi residents had less doctors, dentists and mental health providers than any other state in America.

The Clarion Ledger reports that we face a surging infant mortality rate, as found in the March of Dimes Premature Birth Report card for this year.

According to findings by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, for every 1,000 live births in Mississippi there are 8.8 babies that don’t survive. That organization reviewed 35 countries for that report, finding that only Turkey and Mexico had a higher mortality rate.

All of these negative ratings are compounded by the fact that more of our children live in poverty than any other areas, leading to a reduced access to healthy foods, educational opportunities, access to doctors and dentists and chances for them to be physically fit.

The report shows that a third of our state’s children live in poverty, and it’s a factor that affects more African American children, at nearly half, compared to 17 percent of children in categorically white families.

Also concerning is that our state falls in line with Mexico for life expectancy at 75 years and there are high rates of death associated with preventable health issues such as smoking and diabetes.

There were only a few bright spots in the findings. First, our state rates the best as far as childhood immunizations due to our strict laws concerning exemptions and we were rated as 15th in the nation for low violent crime rates with only 281 such instances per 100,000 people.