Minn. Leads Wis. in Health Border Battle

Updated: 01/24/2013 10:50 PM KSTP.com By: Naomi Pescovitz

The Packers may have smashed the Vikings in the playoffs, but Minnesotans know the border battle is never really over. Now the University of Wisconsin is using the rivalry to get Wisconsinites living healthier lives. So far, Minnesota is winning.

A new report from researchers at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute checked 51 measures including health and dental care, diet and exercise, and economic factors. The measures are as specific as seat belt use, sexually transmitted diseases and unemployment.

In most measures Minnesota ranks higher than Wisconsin.  
The the study shows more Wisconsinites smoke, are obese or overweight, and are excessive drinkers. In fact, Wisconsin ranks worst out of all 50 states in the percentage of adults who report frequent, heavy drinking.

"For us in Wisconsin, when we look at how we're doing on a particular health measure and we compare ourselves to Minnesota, if we see that we're not doing as well, we know that we ought to be able to do better," said Karen Timberlake, Director of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Among other states, Minnesota ranked best in air quality and for having the lowest percent of obese or overweight children. Wisconsin scored higher than Minnesota in children's health insurance and vaccinations.

"Honestly whether it gets the conversation going in Wisconsin or gets the conversation going in Minnesota, or both, then that's really the point," Timberlake said.

Click here to view the entire report.