Iowa lost ground on 95 of the more than 250 measures used to track our progress meeting health goals as part of a five-year statewide initiative, according to a recent report.
- Yes, but: We improved in 138 measures. (23 haven't changed.)
Why it matters: The initiative is part of a public health benchmark that sets the state's agenda for helping Iowans live longer, healthier and more productive lives.
- Its results influence how state resources and grants are allocated.
Background: The Iowa Department of Public Health coordinates the state health assessment and improvement plan, called Healthy Iowans, in collaboration with about 100 different organizations or advisory groups.
- It's a component of the state's public health accreditation.
State of play: The report tracks everything from obesity and alcohol use to mental health and vegetable consumption. Here are the big takeaways:
- 🙂 The good: Death rates caused by cancer and heart disease have decreased.
- ☹️ The bad: Obesity, suicide and STD rates increased.
- Of note: Some of the measurements show that low-income families and people of color continue to face far greater health challenges.
Be smart: Losing ground on some measures is a part of life. It can be influenced by factors like a pandemic that are unaccounted for in original health improvement plans.
- Iowa's plan is revised every year to account for some of the emerging issues.
- The initiative's previous plan (2012-2016) also didn't meet some of its baseline goals but nonetheless helped Iowa reduce serious problems like smoking and AIDS.
What's next: A 2022-2026 plan will be developed in the coming months, as the final report will for this cycle is expected next year.
- Iowans can get involved by taking this health assessment survey.
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