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Report: U.S. Failing to Meet Women’s Health Goals

By HERWriter Guide
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What’s the current state of women’s health in the U.S.? Pretty dismal, according to the latest report by the National Women’s Law Center and Oregon Health and Science University.

American women are now more obese, diabetic and hypertensive than just a few years ago. More are testing positive for Chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease linked to infertility. Binge drinking is up too, with more women saying they’ve had five or more drinks at one time in the past month. Less women are being screened for cervical cancer.

The report card, issued since 2000, grades states on 26 health indicators, showing whether they are achieving goals set by the Department of Health and Human Services. In this latest analysis, a satisfactory rating was only handed out on three of 26 measures of good health for women.

No state was given an overall satisfactory grade for women's health. Two states, Vermont and Massachusetts, got the next highest grade of "satisfactory minus." Thirty-seven states received an unsatisfactory grade, and 12 were given an F. Ranking at the bottom were Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia.

The report also found:
• One in five women between the ages of 18 and 64 is uninsured.
• Almost 50 percent of all pregnancies are unintended.
• Only seven states require that prenatal care services be covered in all individual and group health plans.
• Only eight states require private insurers to cover contraceptives.
• Nineteen states restrict private insurers' coverage of abortion services.
• More than 33 percent of women in Mississippi are obese; the highest rate in the nation, compared with 19 percent in Colorado, the lowest.
• Nearly 13 percent of women in West Virginia have diabetes, the highest rate in the nation, compared with 5 percent in Alaska, the lowest.

Three goals that have been met throughout the country are the number of women getting screened for colorectal cancer, receiving mammograms and going for annual dental visits, Berlin said. Since 2000, there has been some progress in reducing deaths from heart disease, stroke, and breast and lung cancer.

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