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WMJ Study: Minnesota winning border battle for better health

Release Date: September 29, 2016
Contact: Kendi Parvin - 608.442.3748 kendi.parvin@wismed.org

Madison (Sept. 28, 2016)—When it comes to the health of its residents, the state of Minnesota is faring better than Wisconsin, according to a study in the latest issue of WMJ.

“Overall, Minnesota has better health outcomes than Wisconsin, with lower premature death rates, better self-reported quality of life, and better birth outcomes,” wrote the authors, from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service and the Minnesota Department of Health. “These better health outcomes are experienced by numerous counties within Minnesota, with its major metropolitan counties (Hennepin [80th] and Ramsey [104th]) ranking significantly better than Milwaukee County (157th).”

Researchers combined all counties in Wisconsin and Minnesota into a single 159-county region and used County Health Rankings to compare and contrast health outcomes and factors across state lines. Of the top-ranked counties in the region, 27 were Minnesota counties and only five were Wisconsin counties. Of the bottom-ranked counties in the region, 11 were Minnesota counties and 23 were Wisconsin counties.

County Health Rankings examine a variety of measure that affect health, including access to healthy foods, physicians and safe and affordable housing, as well as rates of smoking, alcohol use, obesity and graduation rates. The authors concluded that “Minnesota’s better health status was explained primarily by healthier behaviors and more desirable social and economic factors.”

“Health has multiple determinants, including health care, health behaviors, and the socioeconomic and physical environment, and therefore improving the health of a population cannot be achieved by a single sector,” the authors wrote. “Improved population health can be achieved only with the purposeful involvement of leaders in education, business, governmental agencies, academics, the media, nonprofits, and more, in addition to health care leaders.”

Published by the Wisconsin Medical Society, WMJ is devoted to the interests of the medical profession and health care in the Midwest. This peer-reviewed publication, which is available in print and electronic format, is one of the few state medical society-sponsored medical journals that publish a large amount of original research and academic content.

All articles published in WMJ represent the views of the authors, for which neither WMJ nor the Wisconsin Medical Society take responsibility, unless clearly stated.