Study Says Hawaii is Healthiest State But Lags in Immunizations

A long-time resident of Hawaii, Dr. Ronald H. Kienitz, D.O., has worked in a number of emergency clinics and hospitals throughout the island of Oahu. As a professional member of the American Osteopathic Association, Dr. Ronald H. Kienitz, D.O., continues to work with patients to assess potential health risks and develop preventive strategies.

According to a recent study from the United Health Foundation, Hawaii has topped the list as the healthiest state in the U.S. for the second consecutive year, with experts citing low rates of obesity, cancer, and smoking. However, the study also revealed a substantial drop in immunization coverage for children under 19 years, showing a decline of 17 percent in the last year alone and dropping the state to a ranking of 40th place in the nation.

Following the recent outbreak of measles, the CDC and American Osteopathic Association have reaffirmed their position on MMR vaccinations, encouraging parents to stay up-to-date on vaccination schedules. Though measles was thought to have been eradicated from the United States in 2000, the resurgence shows that this common disease is alive and well in certain parts of the world and, under the right conditions, can spread easily. Regions with high levels of international travel and high concentrations of unvaccinated people are particularly vulnerable; as well, measles is a particularly contagious disease, affecting approximately 90 percent of susceptible individuals and remaining airborne for up to two hours. Although the vaccines are not guaranteed to prevent diseases, the MMR vaccine is 99 percent effective at preventing measles (with both doses), and 88 percent effective at preventing mumps.

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