The National Woman's Law Center has released the 2007 National Report Card on Women's Health, the fourth in its series of annual reports on women's health issues.
The report card is based on a number of status and policy indicators. Nationally, the general state of women's health is "unsatisfactory":
...for the bulk of indicators of the status of women's health, the nation as a whole and the individual states are falling further behind in their quest to reach national goals for women's health. Significant improvements are needed for the nation to meet key health objectives by 2010. Health objectives set for the nation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Healthy People 2010 agenda provide a roadmap for assessing the status of women's health. Overall, the nation continues to be so far from the Healthy People and related goals that it receives a general grade of "unsatisfactory."
There were "satisfactory" scores in some areas at the national level, such as the percent of women receiving mammograms and colorectal cancer screening, but there are too many areas that received a failing grade, such as the percentage of women without health insurance and rates of obesity, heart disease, healthy diet, poverty, and wage discrimination.
The national report card also reveals racial disparities. For example, the percentage of women without health insurance is 12.9% for white women, 22.5% for black women, and 37.8% for Hispanic women.
At the state level, Vermont (1), Minnesota (2), Massachusetts (3), Connecticut (4), and New Hampshire (5) are rated as the top five. West Virginia (47), Oklahoma (48), Arkansas (49), Louisiana (50), and Mississippi (51) are rated at the bottom.
In the South, Alabama (41), Texas (42), South Carolina (43), Tennessee (45), Kentucky (46), West Virginia (47), Arkansas (49), Louisiana (50), and Mississippi (51) all received a "failing" grade. Virginia (23), Florida (24), North Carolina (36), and Georgia (37) all received a grade of "unsatisfactory".
The report concludes:
The health status of women all across United States must be improved. Far too many states fail to meet the Healthy People 2010 and related goals for satisfactory health status, yet states are only slowly grappling with policy changes that can make improvements in women's health. Since 2004, more states have made positive changes in their policies, but there is still a great distance to go. Much more needs to be done to improve access to health insurance, health care providers and services, and to increase access to reproductive health services. Additionally, women need help attaining economic security, which if achieved would greatly improve their health and the health of their families. This Report Card shines a light on the problems and possible solutions to create a nation of healthy women, for the benefit of themselves, their families, and their communities. Now is the time to take giant steps toward that goal.