One of North Carolina’s goals is “to be one of the healthiest states in the nation.” However, the reality is that our state is not on track to reach this goal anytime soon.
Every 10 years since 1990, North Carolina has set decennial health objectives with the goal of making North Carolina a healthier state. In 2011, the state identified 13 major health focus areas and established 41 objectives and targets to be meet by the year 2020. According to our state’s health improvement plan, “Healthy NC 2020: A Better State of Health”:
“The case for improving the health of individuals throughout the state is strong…the improvement of population health is an important economic development strategy, because health is a form of human capital and as such is a significant “input” into our economic system.”
Unfortunately it appears our state will fall woefully short of achieving the goals outlined in its health improvement plan. Analysis of the latest state data and overall health rankings finds the following:
- North Carolina is not on track to achieve major health objectives by 2020.
The state is not likely to meet targets for 32 out of 41 health objectives (78 percent) by 2020. At the current pace it would take the state 48 more years (or until the year 2065) to achieve all of its 2020 targets. As a result, 12 out of the 13 (92 percent) state’s major health focus areas are negatively affected and not likely to be successful in achieving the 2020 objectives related to them.
- North Carolina is worse off in 18 key health objectives compared to nine years ago. In other words, instead of making progress, certain conditions have gotten worse.
Major health objectives in our state that are worse off today compared to nine years ago include: the unintentional poisoning mortality rate; the percentage of individuals aged 12 years and older reporting illicit drug use; the suicide rate; the rate of mental health-related visits to emergency rooms; the percentage of people spending more than 30 percent of their income on rental housing; the percentage of adults who have had permanent teeth removed due to tooth decay or gum disease; the number of critical violations per restaurant/food stand; and the percentage of adults with diabetes. Read more