Georgia #36 in Health Rankings. Does it Matter?

Dec 13, 2012

In a report on states’ health released this week, Georgia ranks 36th

The Peach State fares poorly in United Health Foundation’s latest “America’s Health Rankings” mainly because of high rates of diabetes, obesity and smoking.

But David Howard of Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health says a ranking of 36th doesn’t really say much.

Ranking are "not scientifically-valid exercises, because they involve combining a number of health measures arbitrarily to come up with a single index," Howard says.  "That said, Georgia does fare poorly compared to other states on a number of health measures.”

Even so, the rankings do afford states a chance to improve health, and Howard says Georgia should pay attention. 

For example, we can learn “best practices” from top-ranking states.  For the fourth consecutive year, Vermont ranks #1. 

Southern states generally fare the worst—with Mississippi and Louisiana tied for last.