The greatest health strengths and challenges in West Virginia
The recently released “America’s Health Rankings 2022 Annual Report” uncovered several health strengths and challenges in West Virginia.
West Virginia is ranked 47th in the country for overall health – a decline from a ranking of 45 in 20191 – according to America’s Health Rankings 2022 Annual Report. Below is a summary of the positive and negative factors that contributed to this ranking.2
West Virginia health strengths
- Low prevalence of excessive drinking
- High prevalence of having a dedicated health care provider
- Low prevalence of high-risk HIV behaviors
- 11% increase in high-speed internet of households from 79.5% to 87.9% between 2016 and 2021
West Virginia health challenges
- High premature death rate
- High prevalence of multiple chronic conditions
- High prevalence of non-medical drug use
- 26% decrease in fourth grade reading proficiency from 30.3% to 22.3% of fourth grade public school students between 2019 and 2022
- 54% increase in drug deaths from 50.4% to 77.4 deaths per 100,000 population between 2019 and 2020
What this means for employers
Employers who do business or have employees living in the state of West Virginia may want to consider programs or benefits that can help support their employee population and guide them to better health decisions.
The real people behind these numbers are what make the work ahead so critically important. Despite the challenges ahead, I remain optimistic that the health system can rise to the moment to address long-standing disparities and improve the health and well-being of all Americans, for this generation and the next.