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Despite several obstacles, Oklahoma sees some health improvements

The United Health Foundation's America's Health Rankings, released Tuesday, found that Oklahoma has seen some improvement in its overall health.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: December 11, 2012

The state saw a drop in the number of children living in poverty, according to the report.

Last year, one in four children, or 25 percent, lived in poverty. This year, it was about 21 percent, according to the report.

In the past 10 years, the infant mortality rate has decreased from 8.5 to 7.5 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to the report. However, the infant mortality rate among black children remains high, about 16 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Oklahoma's “Every Week Counts” program was specifically mentioned in the United Health Foundation's report as a successful attempt to decrease premature births.

The initiative is a collaborative effort among the state Health Department and several community partners to reduce non-medically indicated cesarean sections and inductions before 39 weeks of pregnancy.

This effort has led to a 66 percent decrease in early elective births in Oklahoma, according to the state Health Department.

Communities key

State health commissioner Terry Cline said the state Health Department has focused many of its health initiatives on community involvement, what it believes is one of the ways Oklahoma can see its health improve.

“We realize that the health of Oklahoma can only be improved by actively engaging communities,” Cline said. “This is city government. These are PTAs. These are communities of faith. These are businesses spread across the entire — these are stakeholders. These are the beneficiaries of improved health outcomes.”

by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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