Research: State of the nation’s health

America’s Health Rankings 2023 Annual Report provides insights employers can use to more effectively care for their employees and their health needs.

Eight chronic conditions rose to unprecedented rates, the number of primary care providers decreased by 13%, the premature death rate went up 9% and health disparities continued to widen. These are a few of the findings revealed in the recently released America's Health Rankings® 2023 Annual Report

This report, produced by the United Health Foundation in partnership with the American Public Health Association, offers valuable insights into the nation's health trends that have implications for employers across the country, whether they operate in some of the healthiest states, such as New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and Minnesota, or in states that have the most room for improvement, such as Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Alabama. View the full 2023 annual report.

Here are 3 trends highlighted in the report, along with takeaways for employers who are looking to optimize benefits for their employees:

Increase in chronic disease prevalence

The 2023 Annual Report highlights the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, citing that 8 chronic conditions, such as arthritis, depression, diabetes, asthma, cancer, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic kidney disease (CKD), reached their highest levels since America’s Health Rankings began tracking them. What’s more: In 2022, 29.3M adults — representing 11.2% of the population — reported having 3 or more chronic conditions.

Why this matters to employers: These conditions not only impact the overall health of employees but also lead to increased health care costs and reduced productivity.1 Employers may want to consider implementing preventive measures, such as wellness programs and health screenings, to address these chronic diseases and promote healthier lifestyles among their workforces. Learn more about strategies to help manage chronic conditions.

Increase in behavioral health conditions

Behavioral health conditions are on the rise. In 2022, nearly 40.7M adults experienced frequent mental distress — an increase of almost 6.6M adults since 2020. But it’s worth noting that the report also revealed a 7% rise in the number of mental health providers between 2022 and 2023.

Why this matters to employers: Behavioral health issues can significantly affect employee well-being and productivity and lead to a rise in health care costs.2 Employers may want to prioritize mental health support by offering quality behavioral health benefits, access to a continuum of services, and promoting a supportive work environment. Discover 5 ways to help employees find the behavioral health care they need.

Persistent instances of health disparities

Persistent health disparities among different populations, including racial and ethnic minorities, low-income individuals and rural communities, were also highlighted in the latest annual report. For instance, the percentage of adults with diabetes was 2.1 times higher in West Virginia than in Colorado. Depression was 2.4 times higher among LGBQ+ adults than heterosexual adults. COPD was 7.1 times higher among American Indian/Alaska Native adults than Asian adults.

Why this matters to employers: Employers should be aware of these disparities and strive to provide equitable access to health care services and resources. Tailoring benefits to meet the specific needs of diverse populations may help address these disparities and promote a healthier and more inclusive workforce. Read about the ways employers can help address health disparities and advance health equity.

About America’s Health Rankings

America’s Health Rankings, which analyzes the data encompassing 87 measures from 28 distinct data sources, aims to highlight the impact healthy behaviors can have on overall well-being and the role that community and environmental factors play in a person’s health and well-being.

By investing in the health and well-being of employees, employers may help create a thriving and productive workforce, ultimately benefiting both employees and their own organizations.

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