One Nebraska City Named “Most Unhealthy City” in the Entire State
Nebraska, an agricultural state with a welcoming reputation and scenic landscapes, demonstrates inequities in the prosperity and well-being of its urban areas. A compilation compiled by 24/7 Wall St. identifies one Nebraska city as the least healthful place to reside.
The City Unhealthy: Grand Island
Centrally located in Nebraska, Grand Island is home to an estimated 51,000 inhabitants. It functions as the county seat of Hall County and is the principal urban center of the Grand Island metropolitan area. The venue for the Nebraska State Fair and the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer is noteworthy. However, Grand Island is confronted with substantial health challenges, which have earned it the moniker of the most unhealthiest municipality in Nebraska.
24/7 Wall St. reports that Grand Island performs unfavorably on a variety of health indicators, including the proportion of residents reporting fair or poor health, the prevalence of smoking, and the potential loss of life. The following statistics illustrate Grand Island’s health hazards:
- Potential loss of life per 100,000 individuals: 9,900 (average for the state: 7,300)
- Vaping among adults: 19.8% (average for the state: 16.5%)
- Obesity among adults: 34.6% (average for the state: 32.8%)
- 18.0% of adults report middling or poor health, compared to 13.4% for the state as a whole.
- 25.9% of adults are physically inactive, compared to the state average of 23.0%.
The health indicators suggest that the inhabitants of Grand Island are confronted with a diminished quality of life and an increased likelihood of premature death in comparison to the rest of Nebraska. Several factors contribute to the health challenges faced by the city, including restricted healthcare accessibility, high levels of destitution, and exposure to environmental hazards.
The Health Obstacles: Environmental, Poverty, and Access
Grand Island faces a substantial challenge with regard to the accessibility of healthcare. As opposed to 86.3% of Nebraskans, only 72.8% of Grand Island residents have health insurance, per 24/7 Wall St. In addition, only 66.9% of Grand Island residents, compared to 76.5% of Nebraskans, have a primary care physician.
According to these numbers, a significant proportion of the population of Grand Island may have difficulty affording or gaining access to primary and preventive healthcare services, which are critical for maintaining good health and averting chronic diseases.
An additional formidable obstacle that Grand Island must confront is the pervasiveness of destitution. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the poverty rate in Grand Island is 15.9%, whereas in Nebraska it is 10.4%. Additionally, at $51,440, the median household income in Grand Island is lower than that of Nebraska, which stands at $63,229.
Poverty is widely recognized as a significant social determinant of health, impeding the ability of individuals and families to obtain essentials such as safe housing, nutritious food, education, and other necessities. Additionally, poverty increases susceptibility to stress, violence, and discrimination, all of which have detrimental effects on mental and emotional health.
In addition, the environmental protection agency of the United States has determined that Grand Island’s ozone levels are insufficient to meet national standards. This poses additional environmental challenges for the island. Ozone, a noxious gas, has the potential to induce respiratory ailments such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.
Additionally, the municipality is situated in close proximity to numerous Superfund sites, which are ecologically and human health hazardous regions. Toxic substances such as arsenic, lead, mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are present at these locations; they are carcinogenic, neurotoxic, and reproductively disruptive.
Improving the Health of Grand Island is the Final Point
Grand Island, Nebraska, is ranked as the least healthiest city by 24/7 Wall St. This conclusion is supported by the city’s high prevalence of smoking, obesity, and substandard health conditions. Concurrently, the municipality grapples with reduced healthcare accessibility, heightened levels of poverty, and environmental contamination, all of which further undermine the welfare of its inhabitants.
However, Grand Island does not confront an inevitable destiny of perpetual ill health. There are several potential strategies by which the municipality can improve its health outcomes. These include enhancing the availability and affordability of healthcare services, reducing inequalities and obstacles that negatively impact low-income and minority communities, promoting healthy lifestyles and behaviors, and protecting and improving its natural surroundings.
Through the promotion of cooperation among community organizations, healthcare practitioners, city authorities, and inhabitants, Grand Island can advance in its endeavor to transform into a more thriving and health-conscious locality.