How Healthy Could a State Be?

Population Health Institute, Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison 53726, USA.
Public Health Reports (Impact Factor: 1.55). 03/2010; 125(2):160-7. DOI: 10.2307/41434766
Source: PubMed


We predicted the amount of health outcome improvement any state might achieve if it could reach the highest level of key health determinants any individual state has already achieved.
Using secondary county-level data on modifiable and nonmodifiable health determinants from 1994 to 2003, we used regression analysis to predict state age-adjusted mortality rates in 2000 for those younger than age 75, under the scenario of each state's "ideal" predicted mortality if that state had the best observed level among all states of modifiable determinants.
We found considerable variation in predicted improvement across the states. The state with the lowest baseline mortality, New Hampshire, was predicted to improve by 23% to a mortality rate of 250 per 100,000 population if New Hampshire had the most favorable profile of modifiable health determinants. However, West Virginia, with a much higher baseline, would be predicted to improve the most-by 46% to 254 per 100,000 population. Individual states varied in the pattern of specific modifiable variables associated with their predicted improvement.
The results support the contention that health improvement requires investment in three major categories: health care, behavioral change, and socioeconomic factors. Different states will require different investment portfolios depending on their pattern of modifiable and nonmodifiable determinants.

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