A group of 12 contiguous U.S. states in the Midwest and South has the highest rate of adult tobacco use in the nation. If taken as a country, this group would rank among those with the highest smoking rates in the world.

This is according to a report released by Truth Initiative last week. Indiana is one of these twelve states, along with neighboring Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri.

Lack Of Local Prenatal Care Forces Tough Choices For Rural Florida Women

Nov 10, 2015
The rate of women giving birth without ever seeing a doctor more than doubled in Dixie County, Florida  after the health department stopped offering prenatal care.


There is a seven-county stretch in North Central Florida –an area larger than Puerto Rico –where over the past two years every county health department stopped offering prenatal care.

Since then, the rate of women getting in to see a doctor in the first trimester has dropped in all seven counties.

Katrina Shut Down Charity Hospital But Led To More Primary Care

Aug 24, 2015

Five years ago, New Orleans attorney Ermence Parent was struggling to find out what was wrong with her leg. She was 58 years old, and her right leg hurt so much that she needed a cane. That was not only painful, but frustrating for a woman who routinely exercised and enjoyed it. Parent sought advice from several doctors and a chiropractor, but got no diagnosis.

Weeks before school started last week in the Kansas City suburb of Olathe, Kansas, the town’s school district began its annual effort to get low-income students signed up for dental checkups. Each year, when parents register at the elementary schools that serve the district’s poorest students, they are asked whether their children have a dentist. “And if they say no, we say, ‘We have a program in our school—a dentist is coming to our school this year,’” explains health services director Cynthia Galemore.

On a hot, sunny Monday in mid-July, Dr. Leana Wen stood on a sidewalk in West Baltimore flanked by city leaders: Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, interim police commissioner Kevin Davis, Rep. Elijah Cummings. Under a huge billboard with the web address dontdie.org, she proudly unveiled a 10-point plan for tackling the city's heroin epidemic.

Wen, the city's health commissioner, said she aims to create a 24/7 treatment center, an emergency room of sorts for substance abuse and mental health. She spoke of targeting those most in need, starting with those in jail.

children of different races
McGeorge BLSA via Flickr/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

The health of America’s children is improving along four key measures: low birth weight, health insurance coverage, child and teen death, and substance abuse. Economic indicators, however, paint a gloomier picture, with childhood poverty staying stagnant or worsening. That’s according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual Kids Count Data Book, published Tuesday. The report measures the effects of economics, education, family and health on children’s wellbeing. The researchers focused on changes between 2008 and 2013.

Ryan Delaney/WFYI

Where the Monon Trail hits 126th Street in Carmel, Ind., it’s crowded with bikers and joggers. There’s a shopping center with a yoga studio and some restaurants, and two different theaters are in view.

A few hundred yards away, a jazz band plays right off the trail. There are hundreds of people out for the show, and some of them dance. Further down, there’s a community center, complete with a skate park.

Go around the country and you'll hear lots of frustration about just how difficult it is to get out of poverty — and more importantly, how to stay out. The official U.S. poverty rate may have gone down to 14.5 percent in 2013 according to new numbers out Tuesday, but still more than 45 million were poor.