BATON ROUGE— LDH Secretary Alan Levine released the following statement today regarding Louisiana’s improvement in United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings. The state increased from 50th to 47th,marking the state’s highest ranking in the 19 years the study has been published.

“The new rankings show that Louisiana is moving forward.  This is the highest ranking in the 19 years that United Health Foundation has been performing this analysis, and this is something for all of us to celebrate.  While this is great progress, we should all redouble our efforts to make Louisiana a healthier state. 

I applaud First Lady Supriya Jindal for her incredible work in promoting child immunizations, and our many community partners that have made our improvement a model for other states.  Louisiana took a giant leap forward in early childhood immunization rankings, moving from 39th to 5th in our nation, which was also confirmed by the CDC earlier this year when the Centers ranked Louisiana second in the nation.

We’ve also decreased the prevalence of both smoking and obesity in our state’s population, moving up ten spots to 37th in terms of obesity and six spots to 35th in terms of smoking. Through programs such as the Louisiana Youth Summit on Tobacco and implementing evidence-based interventions to prevent initiation and promote cessation, such as the Louisiana Tobacco Quitline and Fax-to-Quit Louisiana, we continue to educate our kids on the dangers of smoking and help current smokers quit. We also continue to work, through the Louisiana Council on Obesity Prevention and Management, to reduce obesity in our state and help Louisianians live a healthier life.

Our goal is to make this improvement an annual event, and one that all Louisianians can be proud of.”

Louisiana’s page of the America’s Health Rankings 2009 report is attached. To review the complete America’s Health Rankings, visit www.americashealthrankings.org.

The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov.

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