Learning Activity 1

Learning Activity 1 Instructions

Topic: Virginia’s Health Rankings

Go to the America’s Health Rankings website and follow THE RANKINGS link to view the full state report for Virginia. Examine the state’s health value and rank for each health Determinant and Outcome, as well as the combined rankings for these and for diabetes, obesity, and smoking. You can compare these for the 19 years that the rankings have been published as well as contrast them with other states and the nation as a whole.

Note that Virginia’s overall health ranking has remained around 20. In general, this means that 30 states are worse and 19 states better in overall health ranking. Note also that unlike many states who have improved (or worsened) their health status, Virginia has maintained its rank close to 20 for the past decade or more. There seems to be no breaking over the 19/20 barrier into healthier terrain. Why do you think that is? Select 5 Determinants that if improved, would likely lead to Virginia receiving a better health ranking in the future. Justify your answers in 200–250 words.

Submit Learning Activity 1 by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Sunday of Module/Week 1.

The obesity trend in Virginia looks to be steadily on the rise in Virginia, so tackling that first would be my first thought. Physical inactivity while seeminly average would help to combat not only the obesity issue but also the diabetes outcome, as well as the low ranking for high blood pressure.

All of these four issues are some what intertwined and focusing on one will inadvertently help the next, the fifth determinant that I can see greatly improving Virginia’s health ranking is in immunizations, with both Adolescents and Children and Meningococcal and Tdap. While it is mandatory in many states for school aged children to have certain immunizations, it is not in Virginia despite the desperate need for them and the sound medical reasoning behind them. The bottom line is vaccines are safter than the diseases they are intended to protect us from. By each person getting their vaccines, their children vaccinated, their pets vaccinated, and so on, they are not only protecting themselves, they are also doing their part in continuing to protect the community around them.

I also find it interesting that it is the parents primarily standing in the way of these immunizations. When it came to immunizations for male and female HPV the rankings were more than 10 points higher.