Sunday, January 02, 2011

Women's health goals unmet

The United States has failed to reach almost every goal set for women's health, according to a new report by the National Women's Law Center and Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU). The report — based largely on federal objectives drawn from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Healthy People 2010 agenda — is the fifth in a 10-year look at the status of women's health in this country.

In this latest analysis, a satisfactory rating was only handed out on three of 26 measures of good health for women. The three goals that have been met throughout the country are the number of women receiving mammograms, the number of women getting screened for colorectal cancer and the number of women going for annual dental visits.

Since 2000, there has been some progress in reducing deaths from heart disease, stroke and breast and lung cancer. And, fewer women are smoking, the report found. However, more women are obese and more suffer from high blood pressure and diabetes. Also, fewer women are getting Pap tests for cervical cancer, and the incidence of Chlamydia and binge drinking are on the increase.

No state was given a overall satisfactory grade for women's health and only 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.

In addition to health goals, the report looked at 68 federal health policies. Medicaid coverage for breast and cervical cancer treatment and participation in the Food Stamp Nutrition and Education Program were the only of these goals that were met.

"Making the Grade on Women's Health: A National and State-by-State Report Card," makes it critical that prevention and wellness programs continued to be funded under health care reform, the researchers said.

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