Iowa ranked 20th in nationwide health study

Iowa ranked 20th in the nation according to an annual study examining 35 public health measures, according to the United Health Foundation. The health score for Iowa was above the national average for the study, titled the America’s Health Rankings Annual Report. But, Iowa’s overall ranking has decreased over the last several years, demonstrating that more can be done in the state to improve the care of Iowans.

Notably, Iowa was No. 1 in the nation for high school graduation rate and also ranked high for having low numbers of uninsured patients, children in poverty, babies with low birth weight and drug deaths. Areas of improvement include obesity, excessive drinking, mental health providers and health disparity.

The analysis was part of a three-decade-long effort to gain a better understanding of health trends and challenges in the 50 states. Among the more positive findings: the percentage of American children in poverty continues to stay on a downward trend, and the number of mental health professionals is rising. In addition, adult smoking rates continue to decline, violent crime is 50% below its high point in 1993 and infant mortality rates are at a 30-year low.