News release: Reports highlight Minnesota’s lofty health standing

News Release
May 30, 2013

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Reports highlight Minnesota's lofty health standing

Challenge for state is to build on its success by addressing chronic disease

Two national reports released this week highlight Minnesota's excellent standing in multiple measures of public health.

The first report, the United Health Foundation's "America's Health Rankings Senior Report," ranks Minnesota number one among all states for the health of its seniors. The second report, the American College of Sports Medicine "American Fitness Index," ranks the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul number one among the 50 largest metropolitan areas for fitness.

According to Minnesota Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger, the studies reflect the state's history of investment in personal and public health.

"Minnesota has a long history of prioritizing personal health and community health," Commissioner Ehlinger said. "Our rankings are the product of a lot of hard work by people around the state over many years."

The United Health study listed a number of ongoing challenges for Minnesota, including a high prevalence of chronic drinking and physical inactivity among nearly 200,000 Minnesota adults age 65 and older. Meanwhile, the American College of Sports Medicine report listed "improvement priority areas" for Minnesota including a high smoking rate and low percentage of residents eating the recommended five or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day.

"We know we've still got work to do," Commissioner Ehlinger said. "Minnesota is still struggling with the impacts of chronic diseases associated in part with tobacco use, obesity and poor diet. The good news is that thanks to public health initiatives passed in the most recent legislative session – including the tobacco tax increase and expanded funding for our Statewide Health Improvement Program, we will be able to do more to encourage healthy activities and diet, as well as combat smoking."

Copies of the two reports can be found online:

Media inquiries:

Michael Schommer
MDH Communications