New report shows Kansas fell from 8th to 27th healthiest state

TOPEKA (KSNT) — A new health report released Wednesday says Kansas is the 27th healthiest state in the nation. That’s down from its number 12 ranking when the survey first began in 1990.

This new health study released by the United Health Foundation considers different categories. In deaths related to cancer, heart attack and children living in poverty, Kansas actually had a double-digit drop.

“We need to invest in programs that are proven to lift families out of poverty. These are programs like TANF, which is called temporary assistants for needy families,” said Lauren Beatty, Communications Dir., Kansas Action for Children.

According for to Kansas Action for Children more than 24 percent of children under the age of 18 are in poverty, 19 percent in the state.

The reports says Kansas is among the worst states in addressing childhood poverty — something that Kansas action for children say the governor’s budget cuts announced Tuesday won’t help.

“We should not be taking money from children to balance the budget,” said Beatty.

Kansas has also dropped substantially in rankings of adult smoking and cancer deaths.

“When you look at Kansas you look at the amount of money that we spend in tobacco control prevention and we currently spend just about $1 million for those programs which is recommended under the CDC that we spend closer to $32 million,” said Reagan Cussimanio, Relations Dir., American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

Several ways to decrease tobacco related deaths is to invest in tobacco control programs and increase taxes on tobacco.

“Kansas is at 79 cents. I think that it is an opportunity for us to increase and to move up. We have not increased our tobacco prices since 2002,” said Cussimanio.

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