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Arizona State Health Assessment 2014

Arizona Health Stats – The Good, Bad, & Disturbing

When I heard that the latest Arizona State Health Assessment was out, I had to poke around to see how my state’s doing. Most of it was bad; some of it was disturbing; but there were a few glimmers of hope in the mix.

In some areas, Arizona is doing better than the national average.

AZ Better than Nat'l Average

The fact that more than 1 in 4 people in Arizona is obese is disturbing, as is the fact that that makes us better than the national obesity rate. To put this statistic into context, Arizona has had 19% increase in the number of overweight and obese people since 1993 – the largest increase in the U.S.! The stats also show an increase in adult diabetes in Arizona from 7.5% in 2005 to 9.1% in 2010.

Thankfully not everything about Arizona’s health is bad. We’ve had a 29% decrease in teen pregnancy since 2007. I don’t care if it’s abstinence or birth control that made this happen, but good job kids for being responsible!

So how are we killing ourselves in Arizona? In 2010, cancer was the leading cause of death followed by heart disease. Accidents were the #4 cause of death overall (2,834), mostly due to poisoning/overdose (879), falls (762), and motor vehicle accidents (711); but there are always some weird accidental deaths:

  • Aircraft accidents = 16
  • Railroad accidents = 12
  • Hit by lightning = 1
  • Electrocuted = 4
  • Venomous snake or lizard = 1
  • Choked on food = 39
  • Choked on some other object = 57 (What are you putting in your mouths?)

This was scary – accidents were the leading cause of death for people under age 45 and the cause of disability for all age groups. (If you don’t have disability insurance, go get some!)

Suicide was the 8th leading cause of death (1,070), but the 5th leading cause for men – likely due to the fact that more men use firearms to commit suicide than women. Women were also more like than men to get routine check-ups (71.3% vs. 59.7% respectively); which hopefully is helping medical professionals identify and refer people who need mental health services.

I think the saddest statistic I read in the study was 20% of Arizonans reported that they have no social-emotional supports. That’s 1 in 5 people saying they have no one. That is beyond disturbing! In our digitally connected world, we don’t have to know our neighbors to have someone to talk to anymore; but on the flip side, it can lead to physical and social isolation.

I will say that Phoenix is not the easiest city to get to know new people, but if you put yourself out there and get involved (and there are tons of ways to do that), you’ll make friends.