Oklahoma’s State Health ranking was 43rd in the nation for 2012.
This is up from the 46th ranking the state held in 2011. Originally the state was ranked at 48th, but the ranking was retroactively changed after new data methodology was introduced, according to The United Health Foundation.
The United Health Foundation calculates the rankings on a variety of different issues, including sedentary lifestyle, tobacco use, and availability of health care.
“We have seen a significant improvement in the ranking,” Terry Cline, state health commissioner, said. “We’re pleased to see the progress.”
However, Cline hopes the state will not stop at 43rd in the nation.
“It continues to be a call to action for us,” the Secretary of Health and Human Services said.
Because the state has high rates of tobacco use and sedentary life styles, and a low rate of primary care physicians, until these are addressed it will be difficult to continue moving up the ranking, Cline said.
However, it is more than possible for individuals to make a difference with their own health, he added. There are three components to overall health – behavior or decisions, genetics, and access to health care.
While genetics and access to health care can’t be controlled, decisions and behavior can be, Cline said.
The mantra is to “eat better, move more, and be tobacco free,” he added.
Cline encouraged people to “add color” to their plates with fruits and vegetables, and if they are unable to exercise, he recommended the move in some way. Take the stairs, or play with children, to walk the long way, Cline said.
“All of those things add up,” he said.
While the state still needs improvement, this new ranking is a step in the right direction, Cline said.
“This provides us with hope,” he added.