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Study highlights health challenges facing low-income Minnesotans

The obesity gap is going between the poor and wealthy Minnesotans.
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A state report card has revealed how low-income Minnesotans are struggling with certain aspects of their health compared to wealthier citizens.

The Commonwealth Fund state study paints a broadly positive picture of health in Minnesota, ranking as the 3rd best in the nation overall after only Hawaii and Massachusetts.

The report looks a health data from the years 2014-2016, which revealed Minnesota has shown improvements in areas including creating mental health treatment access for adults and low numbers of uninsured citizens (though it has since risen).

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But a section of the report that looks at the disparities between the health of low income Minnesotans and average households raises some concerns for health leaders.

One of the biggest disparities is in the obesity rate, which is 28 percent for adults on average across the state, but jumps to 38 percent among low-income residents alone.

This placed Minnesota 42nd in the rankings for low-income obesity.

Another area Minnesota ranked poorly was in access to preventive medical and dental care for low-income children, with 44 percent of children not having a preventive care visit in the past year.

Minnesota placed 42nd in this category we well.

A quarter of low-income Minnesota adults are smokers too, compared to the 15 percent state average.

This disparity, however, more closely mirrors national trends, with Minnesota 23rd nationally in this category.

The Star Tribune notes that the State of Minnesota has spent millions trying to address health disparities particularly when it comes to obesity by striving to improve access to fresh food and fitness opportunities.

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