Research has shown that addressing both clinical and nonclinical factors of health is an important step in promoting health for everyone. While the U.S. spends the most in health care compared to other affluent nations, it ranks 27th in life expectancy, fourth in infant mortality and sixth in maternal mortality, and it has the highest number of drug-related deaths. Missouri, on the other hand, ranks 40 out of 50 overall in national health rankings, and ranks 40th in premature deaths and preventable hospitalizations, 41st in cancer and cardiovascular deaths, 37th in diabetes, and 35th in heart disease.
Research further reveals that geography is a better predictor of an individual’s health than is their genetic code. Data derived from exploreMOhealth.org — a platform designed to assist community health stakeholders assess the health of their communities — depicts that disparities in health are evident between ZIP codes separated only by a few miles. Minority groups often are more affected by health disparities than dominant groups. For instance, a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that individuals of race and ethnic minority groups have a significantly higher prevalence of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, compared to non-Hispanic whites.
Trajectories is a quarterly publication of MHA focusing on progress in quality and population health efforts.