University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

The Race to the Bottom: Wisconsin’s Long-Term Trends in Health Rankings

Odilichi Ezenwanne, MD, MPH; Rich Crawford, MD, MPH; Patrick L. Remington, MD, MPH

WMJ. 2020;119(2):119-121

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Background: Wisconsin’s health ranking dropped from 7th healthiest in 1990 to 23rd in 2018. The purpose of this paper is to identify the contributory factors to this decline.

Methods: Trends in Wisconsin’s health rank for 1990 to 2018 were compared overall and for only identical measures used in both years.

Results: Of the identical measures used in both years (n=10), the median rank declined from 8.5 (range 6-21) in 1990 to 19 (range 9-43) in 2018, with the greatest declines for infectious diseases, infant mortality, and smoking. The ranks were lower in 2018 for the similar measures used and for measures used only in 2018 compared to measures used only in 1990.

Discussion: Wisconsin’s drop in health ranking is real and calls for action to address the root causes.

Author Affiliations: Preventive Medicine Residency Program, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UW SMPH), Madison, Wis (Ezenwanne, Crawford, Remington).
Corresponding Author: Odilichi Ezenwanne, MD, MPH, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WARF Building, Rm 1032, 610 Walnut St, Madison, WI, 53726; phone 608.772.1216; email; ORCID ID 0000-0001-7752-6519
Funding/Support: Support for this work was provided to the Preventive Medicine Residency Program by the Wisconsin Partnership Program, Middleton VA Hospital, and School of Medicine and Public Health.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
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