Indiana Health Ranking Improves

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INDIANAPOLIS -

A new study shows Indiana is slightly healthier than years past. The United Health Foundation's America's Health Rankings Annual Report ranks Indiana the 39th healthiest state in 2016, improving two spots from last year.

The report says the biggest improvement for Indiana was in the category of disparity in health status by education. The state's disparity decreased 17 percent, ranking it seventh in the nation, up from 20th last year.

The number of Hoosiers who smoke decreased by 2.3 percent, improving Indiana's smoking ranking from 44th to 39th. The state's obesity rate decreased by 1.4 percent, improving its obesity ranking from 44th to 36th.

Indiana kept its high rankings in high school graduation rates, immunizations and low incidences of salmonella. The report lists a high rate of infant mortality, high levels of air pollution and a lower number of dentists as challenges for Indiana. The state also ranked 49th for public health funding.

"We've made improvements in obesity and smoking, but we're still in the lowest third of both rankings," said Paul Halverson, founding dean of the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI. "Also, we must do more to reduce the number of people with diabetes and improve infant mortality. One way to improve health in Indiana is to increase funding for public health. The health of the people is a critical element in our overall well-being and prosperity as a state. We're excited to see progress, but we need to redouble our efforts to diligently approach these important health indicators."

IUPUI says Indiana ranked 41st for each of the past four years, which was the lowest ranking in the state's history. Indiana ranked 37th in 2011 and 38th in 2010.

You can view the full America's Health Rankings Annual Report below:

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