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New Ranking Shows Oklahoma is Healthier Than it Used to Be
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK -- Oklahoma is getting healthier. According to the United Health Foundation, the Sooner State moved three spots closer to the national average on a state health ranking.
"Today's rankings show that our efforts to increase access to health care, reduce infant mortality and promote healthy living in schools and workplaces are working. Oklahoma is moving in the right direction, getting people better care with better outcomes," said Gov. Mary Fallin.
"I was thrilled when I saw that we had gone up three spots in the ranking because to me that's real progress," said Jane Sutter of the Boys and Girls Club of Oklahoma. Over the past few years, the Boys and Girls Club have pushed nutritious and fit programs for kids which Sutter thinks has helped contribute to the new ranking.
For overall health, Oklahoma is ranked 43rd in 2012. Over the last several years, Oklahoma's ranking has ranged from 46th to 49th.
"So these rankings, when you get a big number like 43 its' really made up of dozens and dozens of health indicators," said State Health Commissioner Dr. Terry Cline.
Health indicators scoring strongly for Oklahoma were improvements in the infant mortality rate, up-to-date immunization coverage for children 19 months to 35 months, a low incidence of infectious disease cases, an improvement in the percent of persons without health insurance, and an improvement in the percent of children under age 18 living in poverty.
On the downside, a high prevalence of smoking, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, diabetes, limited availability of primary care physicians, and a high rate of cardiovascular disease deaths continue to be health challenges for the state.
The United Health Foundation says new data methodology implemented for the 2012 report has caused it to retroactively calculate Oklahoma's 2011 score, changing it from 48th to 46th. "While the late change in last year's score for Oklahoma is a bit confusing, it is important to note that public health issues are complex and multifaceted and difficult to reduce to a simple overall ranking," said Cline. "We view each year's report as a status assessment of efforts in place that empower Oklahomans to make healthy choices."
As an example, Cline pointed to Gov. Fallin's Executive Order issued last February prohibiting all tobacco use on all Oklahoma state property. "While protecting the health of state employees as well as citizens visiting state-owned properties, this ban is expected to reduce health care costs for state employees, decrease employee absenteeism and increase employee productivity, for a cost savings of an estimated $5.2 million each year," Cline noted.
For information on the Oklahoma Health Improvement Plan, visit www.health.ok.gov. For information on the 2012 state health rankings, visit www.americashealthrankings.org.
Posted: Tuesday, December 11 2012, 09:56 PM CST
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Okla. Legislature OKs tax breaks for storm victims
May 24, 2013 15:54 GMT
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The Oklahoma Senate has approved a bill to provide various tax breaks to property and vehicle owners who suffered losses in Monday's tornado that tore through Moore and left 24 people dead.
The bill approved unanimously in the Senate on Friday also provides sales tax breaks for businesses that donate inventory to help storm victims and property tax credits for property that increases in value after it's rebuilt.
The bill applies to victims of tornados that occur in 2013 and for which a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration was issued. The measure still must be approved by the House before the Legislature adjourns.
The measure was sponsored by Moore Republican Sen. Anthony Sykes, who represents most of the communities hit hardest by Monday's storms.
Senate Bill 330: http://bit.ly/16TdnXX
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