Illinois ranks 20th nationally when it comes to the health of women and children, according to a report from America’s Health Rankings released Wednesday by the United Health Foundation. [Health News Illinois]
The report placed Illinois the best among its peers for the prevalence of neighborhood amenities. It finished 2nd overall for having a low prevalence of women with frequent mental distress and 4th overall for having a low prevalence of insufficient sleep among women.
However, the state received low marks for the low prevalence of cervical cancer screening, which was the 4th worst in the country.
It finished 42nd overall for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children coverage among children 4 and younger, and 39th overall in the prevalence of illicit drug use among youth.
Illinois finished 22nd overall for women’s health and 19th overall for children’s health.
Minnesota was ranked the healthiest state for women and children in the country, while Louisiana finished last.
Overall, the report found that rates of mental and behavioral health challenges have increased among women and children in recent years, with the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating issues.
Anxiety among children ages 3 to 17 increased 23 percent between 2018 and 2021, while depression among that age group increased 27 percent during that same period. Women between the ages of 18 and 44 saw a 14 percent increase in frequent mental distress during that time.
Additionally, suicides among those between the ages of 15 to 19 increased 29 percent between 2012-2014 and 2018-2020.