The Healthiest State For Women To Live Is Massachusetts & Here's What We Can Learn From It
Anyone dealing with this gross cold, rainy weather right now might be regretting their decision to live in the Northeast — is it so wrong to want decent weather the first week of October? We haven't even hit daylight saving time, and it's already dark at 7 p.m.! But weather-related concerns aside, for women, it looks like living in one Northeastern state has finally paid off. That's because a recent report published by the United Health Foundation declared that Massachusetts is the healthiest state for women and children.
The report, titled "America's Health Rankings: Health of Women and Children," looked at all 50 states and compared them based on 60 health measures in four categories. The categories were health behavior of residents (for example, the rate of sexually transmitted diseases), health care (like cervical screenings), policy (such as the number of publicly funded women's health services), and socio-structural factors (like domestic violence). The state that did the best in these four categories was Massachusetts. Huffington Post notes that Massachusetts is also the state that's had universal health care the longest, which has important implications for Obamacare — it provides a glimpse into the positive outcomes it could bring about.
So, what is Massachusetts doing right? For starters, it seems that universal health care is a big part of it, because women and children (and people in general) with health care receive more preventative care and can stop certain health problems from happening in the first place. This, in turn, puts them at a lower risk for preventative hospitalizations and missed diagnoses. Furthermore, Massachusetts has a high primary care physicians per capita ratio, meaning those in need of health care can more easily get it. Additionally, its low infant mortality rate and low prevalence of obesity in women play a role in its success. The Bay State isn't perfect, though — it has a high violent crime rate and excessive drinking among both women and men, which can lead to a number of health problems down the road.
Here are the top 10 healthiest states for women and children, according to the ranking:
3. New Hampshire
9. Rhode Island
So, it seems like the Midwestern and New England are particularly good regions for women and children's health, but not the only solid ones. That's not to say that anyone should up and move to these states on these statistics alone, but it's good to know what resources are available to these populations and how geography might affect that.