by Max Brantley
A new report shows scant progress in Arkansas on a variety of health issues, despite lots of recent talk and effort on the subject. From the Stephens D.C. bureau again:
Arkansas remained one of the nation's unhealthiest states in 2006, hobbled by high obesity and smoking rates and low per capita spending on public health, according to a report released Tuesday.
Arkansas was 46th in health rankings by the nonprofit United Health Foundation, moving up one spot from last year.
The state ranked next-to-last in the amount of money spent on public health programs and in the bottom 10 for the percentage of its population that smoke, are obese, are uninsured or have not been immunized.
The state's health ranking has not changed substantially in the 17 years that the group has presented the annual report. In 1990, Arkansas was 45th.
The state's consistently poor showing comes as a term-limited governor who emphasized better health in the last years of his tenure ends a decade in office.
Gov. Mike Huckabee, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2008, made healthy lifestyles a focal point of his recent term as chairman of the National Governors Association.
Huckabee lost 110 pounds, ran marathons and wrote a book about combating obesity.
But the percentage of obese in Arkansas grew from 26 percent to 28 percent in the past year, the report stated. The percentage of obese was at about 13 percent in 1990.