Where does the State of California rank in terms of its residents embodying the stereotypical picture of sunny California healthy living?
Of the fifty states, California is ranked 22nd by the United Health 2003 State Health Rankings. Many Californians enjoy good health, and the state has a low incidence of smoking when compared to other states. However, the state does less well when it comes to controlling other risk factors such as violent crime and infectious disease. It is not surprising that a populous state such as California faces challenges in these areas.
Unfortunately, not all demographic groups in California enjoy the same access to healthcare. Prenatal care, for example, is a key part of making sure that babies have the best chance possible to be born healthy. Moms-to-be are advised to visit the doctor often during each stage of their pregnancy so that their health, and that of their baby, can be monitored and the necessary tests, such as a gestational diabetes screening, can be administered.
Even those who are only considering a pregnancy can benefit by talking to their doctor first. Getting a head start on pregnancy by quitting smoking, improving nutrition and taking the recommended prenatal vitamins as prescribed by your doctor can make a big difference.
However, among expectant American Indian mothers, only around 68 percent have access to prenatal care. This is a startling disparity when compared with the over 80 percent of Asian and white women who are able to obtain necessary prenatal medical services. Regardless of their demographic background, women without health insurance are much less likely to receive prenatal care than are insured women. California and all the states should work to make sure lack of health insurance doesn’t keep pregnant women from getting the care they need to have a healthy baby.