March 7, 2018

Report: CT ranks No. 6 for women, infants and children's health

Connecticut ranks sixth nationally for the overall health for women, infants and children, according to a new UnitedHealthcare report.

The state joins four others in New England that were ranked in the top six spots.

Massachusetts was No. 1, New Hampshire No. 2, Rhode Island No. 3 and Vermont No. 4, according to the 2018 America's Health Rankings: Health of Women and Children Report. Minnesota was No. 5.

UnitedHealthcare assessed 62 health indicators relating to the community and environment, clinical care, behavior, policies and outcomes.

While Connecticut placed high nationally, the report noted "startling health disparities" between states in certain health measurements. For example, South Dakota had the highest rate of child mortality, 36.4 deaths per 100,000 children ages 1 to 18, which was three times higher than Connecticut's rate of 12.8 deaths per 100,000, lowest in the U.S.

Connecticut's strengths also included its low teen birth rate and high percentage of publicly funded women's health services.

But the report also cited the state's relatively high percentage of low-risk cesarean deliveries, high prevalence of substance dependence and abuse among adolescents, and a high drug death rate among women.

Compared to findings for Connecticut in the report's 2016 edition:

-Child mortality decreased 15 percent from 15 to 12.8 deaths per 100,000 children.

-Tobacco use among adolescents decreased from 6.8 percent to 5.4 percent.

-The percentage of infants exclusively breastfed for six months increased from 22.1 percent to 26.1 percent.

-Drug deaths increased from 11.6 to 16.1 deaths per 100,000 females ages 15 to 44.

-Diabetes among women ages 18 to 44 ticked up from 2.1 percent to 2.7 percent.

-Neonatal mortality increased 15 percent from 3.3 to 3.8 deaths per 1,000 live births.

The report examines the health of women, infants and children because they are fundamental to healthy communities and a healthy nation, comprising more than 40 percent of the population, according to UnitedHealthcare, which said states and communities can use the data are to address health concerns.

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