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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in migratory fish populations, in US and worldwide.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest against Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial as both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic Party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Report: Utah ranks among top 10 states for overall health and well-being

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Friday, December 22, 2023   

Utah ranks among the top 10 states in the 2023 America's Health Rankings report, which "aims to understand the comprehensive health and well-being of the nation."

The report highlights the state has a low prevalence of excessive drinking, low income inequality, and has increased the number of mental health care providers - but continues to struggle in other areas, including air quality and other climate risks.

Carrie Butler is the executive director of the Utah Public Health Association. She said while Utah has promising state-wide numbers, more work needs to be done at the local level to help specific communities.

"Our diabetes rate is actually quite low as a state, which means that we have a hard time getting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding for diabetes prevention programming," said Butler. "However if you look at it at the granular level we have really high rates of diabetes and pre-diabetes in a lot of our communities of color."

Butler said it's hard to understand what communities across the state are facing without paying attention to specific disparities.

Butler said one thing is certain - Utah's population will continue to grow. She said she is happy to see more attention to social determinant factors and how they impact overall health in the Beehive State.

On the national level, the report shows eight chronic conditions have reached their highest levels since America's Health Rankings began tracking them.

Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer of employer and individual for United Healthcare - which sponsors the report - said if you do live with one or more chronic conditions like arthritis, diabetes, asthma or heart disease, you can still live a good life, but recommends seeing a medical professional.

"If it has been some time since you have had your check-up, go get that check-up," said Randall, "because caught early, you can have great outcomes and a quality of life and length of life if you're getting the right treatment associated with those chronic conditions."

Randall also encouraged policymakers to incentivize healthcare professions and make them attractive at the local level.

She added that it can make a big impact long-term, especially with many communities around the nation experiencing a shortage of healthcare professionals.



Disclosure: UnitedHealthcare contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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