Okla. health ranking up, but still low - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Okla. health ranking up, but still low

LAWTON Okla_ A recent health study finds Oklahomans have slightly improved when it comes to taking care of themselves in the last year.

The United Health Foundation lists all 50 states' overall health from best to worst. Oklahoma is ranked 43rd overall, up from 46th last year.

Local health experts said while they are happy Oklahomans have shown progress when it comes to their health, it's still not enough. Some even offered some ideas on how we can continue the upward spiral of good healthy living.

"It's a good jump from 46 to 43," Dr. Mayank Dave, Lawton Family Practitioner said. "It's a good improvement. That tells us that people are living a healthier life here."

The health study says the state's current ranking is associated with a lower infant mortality rate, increased immunization coverage of children 19 to 35 months, low cases of infectious diseases, a jump in the number of people with health insurance and a decrease of children under 18 living in poverty.

Dr. Dave says there are a few other factors as well.

"The smoking prevalence has gone down, even though there are 45% people that still smoke. It's less than it used to be before, and people binge drink less, so that makes a good impact on the quality of life."

Dr. Dave said he still sees areas where Oklahomans struggle, keeping the state near the bottom of the rankings. 

"More prominent are obesity, diabetes and sedentary life style, which makes poor health for people in general." 

Janette New of the Comanche County Health Department said while she's glad to see infant health care and other state programs improve, there is a bigger picture each year when the state health rankings are released.

"I think this is a way to let the citizens know that we are trying to improve the citizens of Oklahoma," New said. "The more awareness we create of the issues that are keeping our numbers down, the more improvements we can make."

She said it all starts with educating yourself on living a healthier lifestyle.

"Look at ways to incorporate physical activities. We know that is a huge factor in our obesity rate. People are very sedentary in our state, so pushing the fruits and vegetables opposed to the pre-packaged chips and candy and cookies that really have fat levels in them."

Dr. Dave also mentioned that our average life span continues to grow, but even though we're living longer, many suffer with chronic conditions. He said a healthier lifestyle can make that long life more enjoyable.

For a closer look at the state's ranking, you can visit. Comanche County is getting set to release their own health study sometime next year.

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