(The Center Square) – The high school graduation rate for New Hampshire women increased 34% between 2009 and 2019, and could correlate with a reduction in health care costs for female adults, according to the inaugural 2021 Health Disparities report from the United Health Foundation.
“That's something that nationally we generally do not see,” said Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare Employer and Individual, part of UnitedHealth Group,” “Generally, we see that those who have a less than a high school education are more likely to smoke, less likely to have a dedicated primary care physician or a personal, dedicated healthcare professional.”
The report looks at more than 30 health-related measures gleaned from data collected by the United Health Foundation, the philanthropic arm of UnitedHealth Group.
Men did not fare as well. The report shows a 36% increase in cancer cases from 2013 to 2019 for male adults.
“The report doesn't tell us the causation but it may be a combination of both increases in cancer rate and earlier detection,” Randall said. “So working with the state health department officials to look deeper into that data is going to be important to understand the causation. We know that the single largest, risk for cancer is smoking rates.”
• Infant mortality in New Hampshire in white infants declined 31% between 2006 and 2018.
• The premature death rate in the white population increased 20% between 2009 and 2019.
• Frequent mental distress in female adults increased 25% between 2013 and 2019.
• The report found low disparities in poverty rates between metropolitan and non-metropolitan residents.
• High disparities in high health status were reported between those without a high education and college graduates. The rates were worse than the national average.
The report does not include data from 2020, which will likely shift the findings.
“We look at over 140 different measures of health from our annual report to the health of seniors, the health of women and children and the health of those who serve in the military,: Randall said. “And now with this disparities report, we expect to see a significant number of them affected by the pandemic, many in negative ways, but also in some, I think we'll see some bright spots. I think that we'll see some improvements in the access to high-speed internet. I'm hoping that we'll be impermanent in flu shots.
"I hope that we improvements in some behaviors, like more people quitting smoking. Because we know that that was a risk factor during the pandemic.”