Florida slightly improved its national standing this year, rising from 36th to 32nd overall in the annual America’s Health Rankings report. But the takeaway for the nation’s third-largest state is that it has a long way to go in many important health categories.
According to the report, Florida ranks:
• 46th in the percentage of adults who are physically inactive. The figure is 29.8 percent, compared to 23 percent nationally.
• 46th in the percentage of the population that does not have health insurance, be it privately, through an employer or through the government. Just under 13 percent of Floridians had no health insurance in 2017, compared to 9 percent nationally.
• 40th in public health funding as measured by spending from state and federal sources. Florida spends $63 per person on public health compared to $86 nationally. By comparison, neighboring Georgia and Alabama spent $72 and $113 per person respectively.
• 41st in child immunizations. The report says 67 percent of children ages 19 to 35 months received recommended doses of vaccines for diptheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, polio and other illnesses. Neighboring Alabama and Georgia, meanwhile, ranked in the top 10 with 77 percent of children in both states receiving their recommended vaccines.
• 40th for the health of women and children overall.
• 39th in the availability of clinical care. The area of mental health was particularly wanting, with only 145 providers for every 100,000 people — 10th worst in the country.
• 30th for senior health.
The report, in its 28th year, is the work of United Health Group, a nonprofit whose activities include making contributions and forming partnerships with more than 2,200 to improve health care. The group says its report is based on the World Health Organization’s definition of health as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."