New Report Highlights New Level of Detail in Wide Variations of Women and Children’s Health Across the Country

  • State’s overall ranking may mask wide variations in health of
    women, children and infants
  • Majority of U.S. children – nine out of 10 babies and eight out of
    10 children – receiving recommended well-visits with health care
  • Report highlights role of home and community environment in a
    child’s health

MINNETONKA, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Notable differences in the health of women and children exist across –
and often even within – states according to some of the key findings of
United Health Foundation’s 2016 America’s Health Rankings®
Health of Women and Children Report
. The new report includes an
in-depth look at more than 60 measures of health and well-being,
selected by a steering group of women’s and children’s health experts.

The Health of Women and Children is Inconsistent Across – and Often
Within – States

States currently ranked the healthiest overall for women’s and
children’s health are generally in the Northeast, while states
experiencing the greatest challenges are generally in the South.
Specifically, the report finds:

  • For women, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Vermont fare best;
    Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas have the greatest opportunity for
  • On infant health, New Hampshire, Utah and Vermont are strongest;
    Mississippi, Arkansas and Georgia face the greatest challenges.
  • When it comes to the health of children, Massachusetts, Connecticut
    and New Hampshire rank at the top; Mississippi, Arizona and Nevada
    have more work to do.

The report highlights that a high or low ranking for one segment of the
population does not mean that other segments will be similarly ranked.
In fact, it finds that some states rank high for the health of infants
relative to other states, while their ranks for women and children may
be lower, or vice versa. For example:

  • Alaska, Arizona and Idaho score above average for the health of
    infants, but rank below average for the health of women and children.
  • Child health ranks below average in Montana and Oregon, but these two
    states perform better than the national average when it comes to the
    health of women and infants.

Majority of U.S. Children are Receiving Key Recommended Clinical
Preventive Services

The report highlights national successes in children’s health such as
use of preventive services including:

  • A majority of children, nine out of 10 babies and eight out of 10
    children, are receiving their recommended baby and adolescent
    well-visits with a health care provider;
  • Within the recommended series of early childhood vaccines, more than
    90 percent of children are receiving vaccinations for polio (93
    percent), measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) (92 percent), Hepatitis B
    (92 percent) and chicken pox (91 percent).

A Child’s Home and Community Environment Can Have a Long-Lasting
Impact on His or Her Health

The report highlights the impact of home and community environment on a
child’s health, and illustrates the importance of more integrated
approaches to children’s health.

Previous research has shown that children experiencing a higher number
of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)* in their home environment are
more likely to develop chronic health conditions and engage in unhealthy
behaviors, while supportive neighborhoods can promote long-lasting
positive health outcomes and contribute to the social and emotional
health of a child. Specifically, the report finds:

  • Nearly one in four children (16.4 million) have faced multiple adverse
    childhood experiences (ACEs) before reaching their 18th
  • Three-quarters of children live in a supportive neighborhood where
    people look out for each other’s well-being, which positively
    contributes to a child’s health.

“This report reinforces the need to move toward a holistic, integrated
approach to help improve overall health outcomes, especially for women
and children,” said Deneen Vojta, M.D., a pediatrician and senior
adviser to United Health Foundation, and Executive Vice President,
Enterprise Research and Development, UnitedHealth Group. “We need to
work together – across states, communities and the public health sector
– to find ways to create supportive environments and encourage wellness
and improve health among women, infants and children.”

To read the report and other materials, visit America’s Health
new website, which offers enhanced interactive visual

About United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings and Health
of Women and Children Report

America’s Health Rankings Health of Women and Children Report
includes more than 60 measures of health and well-being, all selected by
a steering group of experts in the field of women’s and children’s
health. The report shines light on the strengths and challenges faced by
the nation and offers a roadmap for community leaders, public health
officials, policymakers, and the media to improve the health of women
and children within their states.

United Health Foundation also produces the annual America’s Health
Annual Report and has recently expanded its
reporting series to include a number of spotlight reports focused on
important markers of the nation’s health, including prevention and the
impacts of unhealthy behaviors. For more information, visit

About United Health Foundation

Through collaboration with community partners, grants and outreach
efforts, United Health Foundation works to improve our health system,
build a diverse and dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being
of local communities. United Health Foundation was established by
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private
foundation dedicated to improving health and health care. To date,
United Health Foundation has committed nearly $315 million to programs
and communities around the world. We invite you to learn more at

* Indicator that a child has experienced the following:
socioeconomic hardship, divorce/parental separation, lived with someone
who had an alcohol or drug problem, victim or witness of neighborhood
violence, lived with someone who was mentally ill or suicidal, domestic
violence witness, parent served time in jail, treated or judged unfairly
due to race/ethnicity, or death of parent.

** Percentage of children aged 0 to 17 whose parents report their
child is “usually” or “always” safe in their community and neighborhood
and who “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” with at least three of the
following: In my neighborhood people help each other out, we watch out
for each other’s children, there are people I can count on in this
neighborhood, there are trusted adults nearby to help my child if they
got hurt or scared while playing outside.

Twitter: @AHR_Rankings

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United Health Foundation
Danielle Varallo, 202-654-8847