A fascinating and sometimes disturbing new study is out that asks the question: How healthy are women in America?
IVillage.com’s special report on the State of Women takes a comprehensive comparison of women’s health in all 50 states. The study looked at research from a variety of sources including the Centers for Disease Control, the National Cancer Institute and the Kaiser Family Foundation among others.
Oregon was found to be the state with the highest number of cases of depression – 30.6%. Not surprising the state with the lowest number of depression diagnoses was Hawaii with 12.1%. Researchers suspect weather may play a role in these numbers. Maui, Hawaii averages 131 days of sunny weather each year while Portland, Oregon see blues skies on average only 68 times a year.
Hawaii’s sunny disposition also helps make the state the one with the least obese women – 47.4%. Women in the southern states were most likely to be overweight and Mississippi is leading the way. Two out of three women in the Magnolia state are either overweight or obese.
“A state like Mississippi where 65% of women are either overweight or obese,” said IVillage chief correspondent Kelly Wallace on Jansing & Co.,”It ranks highest when it comes to blood pressure and high cholesterol , second lowest when it comes to women getting fruits and vegetables and very low when it comes to life expectancy. We see a correlation.”
Despite Oregon’s high depression rate, it was also found to be the state where women are most fit. Two out of three women in the Beaver state exercise regularly. Tennessee is at the opposite end of that spectrum with just a little more than one in three women physically active.
Health insurance can have a profound affect on women’s health and preventive care. Researchers found an alarming 30% of women do not have medical insurance in Texas.
“If you don’t have health insurance, you’re less likely to get your pap smear or mammogram,” said NYU Langone Medical Center’s Dr. Sudeepta Varma to Chris Jansing. ”We’re talking life and death. If you don’t get early screening and detection, you’re unlikely to get care at the right time.”
The state with the lowest rate of uninsured women? Massachusetts with just 5%.