A new look at health rankings for women and children finds Indiana inched up a spot from 36th to 35th out of 50 states.
In one area, Indiana still struggles. Maternal mortality in Indiana ranks 46th and the state’s infant mortality rate is 42nd.
The annual Health of Women and Children Report from United Health Foundation reflects numbers from 2016. Senior advisor Deenen Vojta says the data shows challenges that women in Indiana face.
“Funding women’s health services, Indiana sits at 39th, cervical cancer screening 45th,” says Vojta. “So these all are measures that seem to tell the same kind of story.”
The report highlights a number of areas where the state is making progress including a decrease in teen suicide and smoking. Vojta says there is other progress as well.
“Low prevalence of missed school days,” she says. “Children and parents believe they live in supportive neighborhoods and a low prevalence of substance abuse.”
Vojta says women also tend to influence many issues facing Hoosier children like high rates of obesity.
“We know that women are the gatekeepers to family health and generally a lot of the behaviors are what I call family behaviors,” says Vojta.
The report can be used as a tool for communities and policy makers to help guide decisions on women and children’s health.