United Health Foundation released its report on the America's Health Rankings:A Call to Action for People and Their Communities . The report explains that our individual health outcomes are dependent on more than our genetic predispositions to disease, but rather are a result of: our personal behaviors; the environment of the community in which we live; the public and health policies and practices of our government, and the clinical care we receive.
These four aspects interact with each other in a complex web of cause and effect, much of which is just beginning to be fully understood. Understanding these interactions is vital if we are to create the healthy outcomes we desire, including a long, disease-free, robust life for all individuals regardless of race, sex or socio-economic status. This report focuses on these determinants and on the overall healthy outcomes we desire.
Our state government actively works to protect our health in numerous ways — ensuring safe food and environments, protecting against infectious diseases, investigating disease outbreaks, licensing health care professionals and facilities and providing health care services, such as maternal and infant health clinics, primary care clinics and public hospitals as a “safety net” to ensure the availability of care for uninsured, low-income and disadvantaged populations.
While North Carolina's health ranking remained unchanged from last year (36th), the percentage of North Carolinians without private health insurance increased from 15.3 percent to 17.9 percent. This is a problem that we, as a state, need to address.