DES MOINES — The annual report from United Health Care says Iowa dropped one spot to 16th in the nation for women and children’s health.
United Healthcare medical director Lisa Saul says Iowa has a high percentage of women who receive early prenatal care, and it’s also notable that Iowa ranks well nationally when it comes to low infant birth weights. “Whether it’s, it’s better nutrition, whether it is different pregnancy monitoring practices, I think that’s a really important statistic, and one that bodes well for the overall health of children at that early stage of their life,” she says.
Another strong point for the state is the low percentage of households that don’t get enough food. “Whether it is talking about school lunch programs, and overall poverty rates, which impact food insecurity, and that that percentage is low is also a very good sign,” she says.
The report found Iowa struggles with substance use among women including high rates of smoking during pregnancy and excessive drinking in general. It’s the organization’s seventh annual report.