Massachusetts may be a medical hub, but when it comes to what we do to encourage good health rather than good health care, we’re looking resoundingly mediocre. That’s the conclusion of a first-time “health report card” for the state put out by the Boston Foundation and the health policy foundation NEHI. From Nick King, vice president of NEHI:
The “Healthy People/Healthy Economy Report Card” grades policies on 14 different health indicators in four key areas: physical activity, access to healthy foods, investments in health and wellness, and citizen education and engagement. The grades were mixed – no As, five Bs, two Cs, four Ds, and two Fs.
The innovative report card is the first in the nation to focus on the effectiveness of public policies that encourage healthy living and controlling and preventing obesity and other chronic illnesses. This first annual report card should serve as a template for other communities and states across the country seeking to hold public officials accountable for the effectiveness and direction of their wellness policies.
Below is the report card in “at-a-glance” form. Here’s the Globe’s Chelsea Conaboy’s story on it and here’s the WBUR news story. My central takeaway: We can fiddle with health care reform all we want, but the best way to save money is actually to keep people healthier in the first place, using measures like those graded below.