By Christina Sturgis
Frankfort residents may want to check out Franklin County’s smoking cessation information in the wake of a disturbing new health report.
Kentucky is ranked 45th out of the 50 states in a comprehensive analysis of health and the factors that influence it, including smoking, obesity and diabetes in the latest edition of America’s Health Rankings by the United Health Foundation. One key factor is that the Blue Grass State has the highest smoking rate in the nation – 28.3 percent of the adult population or 930,000 people.
Kentucky’s other health challenges are a high prevalence of preventable hospital stays and a high prevalence of cancer, according to the report. Hawaii achieved its No. 1 rank in the report for having the lowest rates of smoking, obesity and diabetes, the same problems that sent Mississippi to the bottom of the chart.
Kentucky’s neighboring state, West Virginia, has almost as high a percentage of smokers, at 28.2 percent of adults, more than Ohio at 23.3 percent of adults. In Cincinnati, the closest major city to Frankfort, there have been concerns that Ohio’s ban on smoking in public places would dampen enthusiasm for casino gambling.
Positive health news for Kentucky included low rates of binge drinking, a low violent crime rate and low incidence of infectious disease, according to the report. In Kentucky, 14.9 percent reported binge drinking in the past month when defined as four or more drinks for women on one occasion and five or more drinks on one occasion for men. The highest rates of binge drinking were reported in North Dakota and Wisconsin.
Kentucky has improved its high school graduation rate by more than 15 percent since 2003, with 79.9 percent of incoming ninth graders graduating within four years.