In the country’s annual health checkup, Arizona ranks 30th this year when compared with other states – according to United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings® Annual Report.

The report’s national data show that in 2015, Americans are making meaningful progress on key health metrics including smoking less and leading less sedentary lives, but rising rates of drug deaths – including deaths from illegal drug use and prescription drug abuse – obesity, diabetes and children in poverty signal serious challenges ahead. United Health Foundation produces the America’s Health Rankings Annual Report to provide actionable, data-driven insights that stakeholders can use to effect change in a state or nationally.

Arizona’s overall health

The 2015 America’s Health Rankings Annual Report finds Arizona has a combination of strengths and challenges.

Arizona’s Strengths

  • Low rate of cancer deaths: Arizona ranks 5th in the country.
  • Low rate of preventable hospitalizations: The rate of preventable hospitalizations in Arizona is 40.1 discharges per 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries, ranking 7th in the country.
  • Low rate of cardiovascular deaths: Arizona ranks 10th in the country.

Arizona’s Challenges

  • Low per capita public health funding: Arizona ranks 49th in the country, with only $39 per person of public health funding.
  • High percentage of children in poverty: More than 28 percent of Arizona’s children are living in poverty, ranking the state 46th in the country.
  • Low rate of high school graduation: Arizona ranks 44th in the U.S., with just over 75% of students graduating.

Key Arizona challenges addressed by UnitedHealthcare programs

UnitedHealthcare watches America’s Health Rankings to better understand the health of individuals and communities across the nation and in Arizona. UnitedHealthcare has several programs that address the nation’s health challenges at a state level, designed to help educate people about living healthier lives, and empower stakeholders to act to improve health across Colorado’s communities.

  • Wellness Incentives: UnitedHealthcare offers Personal Rewards, a cutting-edge wellness program offering personalized scorecards for individual consumers to promote healthy behaviors by using customized information, financial incentives and support. In addition a small business wellness incentive program provides consumers incentives such as $20 per month for visiting participating fitness centers, at-home biometric screening kits and much more.
  • Innovations to make health care decisions easier: UnitedHealthcare’s myHealthcare Cost Estimator tool is available to more than 1.6 million Arizonans. The health care price transparency tool shows consumers both quality and cost measures associated with the most common medical procedures, allowing consumers the opportunity to make more informed decisions about their care. In addition, UnitedHealthcare’s Health4Me app provides instant access to information such as nearby physicians, the status of a claim, or direct communication with a nurse.
  • Baby Blocks: UnitedHealthcare’s Baby Blocks program is an interactive incentive program that helps pregnant women and new parents with prenatal and well-baby care. Women who enroll in Baby Blocks can earn rewards for completing prenatal, postpartum and healthy-baby appointments. Users access the interactive “baby blocks” app on their iPhone or Android, which shows their prenatal visits and opportunities to earn rewards for prenatal and postnatal visits.
  • Helping Build Healthier Communities: United Health Foundation’s “Helping Build Healthier Communities” program provides critical resources to nonprofit, community-based organizations across the country to improve the health of communities. Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) was awarded a $1 million grant by United Health Foundation to support the Preventive Health Collaborative (PHC), which helps to ensure that all children from birth to five years of age, and their families, are living healthier lives.  The grant will enable PHC to continue its work serving young children and their families in south Phoenix and expand its service to Mesa.

“For the last 26 years, the America’s Health Rankings Annual Report has provided a comprehensive picture of the challenges and opportunities facing Arizona’s health, and where we stand against our peer states and the nation at large,” Dr. Thomas Biuso, medical director, UnitedHealthcare of Arizona. “We look forward to using this year’s report to continue identifying best practices that address Arizona’s most pressing health challenges and encourage our residents to lead the healthiest lives possible.”

“This year’s America’s Health Rankings Annual Report reveals many encouraging gains in our nation’s health while showing clearly there is much more we as a country must do to maximize our health potential,” said Reed Tuckson, M.D., external senior medical adviser to United Health Foundation. “This report is a call to action to make disease prevention a key component of our culture. We want to ensure everybody – no matter what state they call home – is empowered to make healthy decisions for themselves, their families and their communities.”

To see the national and state rankings in detail, visit

United Health Foundation to publish new reports in 2016 to offer more information to help improve public health

In 2016, United Health Foundation will introduce a new suite of reports and year-round information on key health behaviors, conditions and populations to amplify stakeholders’ efforts as they work to effect change across states and communities. This will include:

•New reports on selected populations. America’s Health Rankings will expand its publication of reports on select populations. In addition to the America’s Health Rankings Annual Report and America’s Health Rankings Senior Report, America’s Health Rankings will issue new annual reports on the health of mothers and children, and the health of the nation’s veterans.

•New spotlight reports on key public health topics. America’s Health Rankings will issue several “spotlight” reports over the course of the year focused on important markers of the nation’s health, such as substance abuse, prevention, healthy lifestyles and mental health.