Kentucky ranks 49th in seniors’ well-being, new survey shows

WellBeingFor the seventh year in a row, Kentucky has been ranked as the second-lowest state when it comes to the well-being of people aged 55 and older, beating out only West Virginia.

The rankings  are part of the 2015 Gallup-Healthways State of American Well-Being series. Kentucky’s “well-being index score” was 61.2, ranking just ahead of West Virginia (59.9) and just below Oklahoma (62.0), Ohio (62.5), Indiana and Vermont (62.7 each). The score is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being the best. Hawaii ranked No. 1, with a score of 67.0.

The analysis ranks states according to five different measures of well-being for seniors and then ranks them based on the overall score. Those measures (with Kentucky’s ranks noted in parentheses) are:

  • Purpose: Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals (48)
  • Social: Having supportive relationships and love in your life (46)
  • Financial: Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security (41)
  • Community: Liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community (40)
  • Physical: Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily (49)

James Kimbrough, president of AARP Kentucky, told Darla Carter of The Courier-Journal that he thought the problem was rooted in poor eating habits and a lack of physical activity and said he would like to see state’s legislative leaders be public role models in these areas.

“The healthiest states in the country have a culture of encouraging people to exercise, to be outdoors, to not sit in front of the TVs,” he said.


Kentucky children continue to struggle with their health depending on where they live, according to new report

KY Youth Advocates logoThe annual Kentucky Kids Count report has measured the overall well-being of Kentucky’s children for 26 years, and this year’s report finds that today’s youth are healthier and completing high school on time despite mounting economic inequality and increasingly unaffordable college tuition.

“We need to continue to implement policies and practices that help all children, and in order to do that, we must face some uncomfortable truths,” Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, said in a release. “One of those truths is that the ZIP code in which children live, the amount of money their family earns, and the color of their skin are pervasive and powerful influences on the childhood they will have and the future they can embrace.”

The report looks at four major categories – Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family & Community – and ranks the states accordingly. Kentucky showed improvements in 11 of the 16 major categories, en route to an overall ranking of No. 35 (Minnesota is No 1, while Mississippi is No. 50). In fact, Kentucky showed improvements in all four Health categories (low-birthweight babies, children without health insurance, children and teen deaths per 100,000, and teens who abuse alcohol or drugs) and was ranked No. 16 in the nation in the Health category.

To see the Kentucky profile, please click here. To see the full report, please click here.

The Kentucky Kids Count report, released by KYA, is part of the 26th annual release of the County Data Book, which ranks every Kentucky county on overall child well-being through 16 measures in four areas: economic security, education, health and family, and community strengths.

The 2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book is produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private philanthropy based in Baltimore and working across the country that is devoted to developing a brighter future for millions of children at risk of poor educational, economic, social and health outcomes.


Passport co-sponsors Charla Young’s Power Up Summit in Louisville on November 12

power up graphicPassport Health Plan is proud to co-sponsor the Power to Exhale movement’s Power Up Summit on Saturday, Nov. 12, at Canaan Christian Fellowship Center in Louisville.

The Power to Exhale movement was created by Charla Young, an author, blogger, motivational speaker, internet radio show host, and host of an empowerment reality television show. Power to Exhale exists to establish a community of love, support and positivity for all women of all ages, all races and all financial and socio-economic backgrounds, according to its Facebook page.

The event, which will run from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., will follow the theme of “Why Not Now?” and focus on different ways that attendees can “Power Up” their health, relationships, finances and more so that they can impact their communities in a powerful way and realize their full potential.

Along with the speakers, free health screenings, power breaks, and discussions about topics including mental health, depression, relationships, finances, power, purpose and more, the American Heart Association will also be on hand to provide a “Have Faith in Heart” blood pressure screening and help educate attendees on how to have a healthy heart.

Cost of the event is $15 in advance or $20 at the door, and includes a special T-shirt and lunch. For more information or to buy a ticket, please click here.


Bingham Fellows launch 5 bold initiatives to get Louisville healthier

lllThe Bingham Fellows program has provided experienced leaders in Greater Louisville with the opportunity to put into practice the skills that credential them as a leader of leaders since 1988. Side by side with peers, participants provide critical issues with visibility and momentum to move our community forward.

The Bingham Fellows Class of 2016 – which included Passport Health Plan Health and Wellness Manager Ryan Burt – focused on the topic of “Empowering Citizens to Live Healthier Lives,” and they brought their expertise and passion to help Louisville improve its collective health. This is a significant challenge because Louisville is regularly rated as one of the unhealthiest cities in the United States by many metrics used to measure wellness. As the class discovered, improving the health of citizens is a complex issue.

They began in January 2016 by engaging local and national companies, nonprofit organizations and public agencies to develop a deep understanding of how they might impact positive change. At their recent “graduation,” the class presented five innovative projects empowering citizens to lead healthier lives and touching all factors that impact health, including social and economic factors, health behavior, clinical care and physical environment. The projects are:

  • Smoketown Family Wellness Center: A New Model for Healthcare Delivery
  • SaturPlay: Building Healthy Bodies and Strong Character
  • Louisville Active: Creating a Culture of Active Lifestyles
  • Smoketown Laundry: Transforming Vacant Space into a Place that Improves the Health and Well-Being of a Community
  • Healthy Teen Break Up Summit: Promoting Peaceful & Healthy Relationship Skills for Teens

For more information about the projects, please click here. For more information about the Bingham Fellows program, please click here. For more information about Leadership Louisville, please click here.


Passport bringing Health and Resource Fair to Eastern Kentucky on October 24

Passport logoPassport Health Plan is co-sponsoring a Health and Resource Fair with the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health on Monday, October 24, in Hazard, Kentucky.

At the event – which will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health, 750 Morton Blvd., in Hazard – people will be able to learn all about the importance of receiving preventive care and having a relationship with their primary care physician (PCP).

There also will be a number of different vendors at the Health and Resource Fair, offering health screenings and educational information about resources that are available in the community to help people live healthier lives. In addition, there will be door prizes, entertainment, refreshments, and much more!

Some of the groups that will be in attendance at the event include Kentucky HomePlace, Appalachian Regional Hospital, Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), Application Assistors (formally Kynectors), and more.

The event is free of charge and no registration is required.


Passport co-sponsors the “Walk a Mile in My Shoes: Migration Simulation” event in Louisville

walk a mileThe Global Human Project will host the 2nd annual “Walk a Mile in My Shoes: Migration Simulation,” a unique and dynamic learning experience providing a powerful glimpse into what many refugees and migrants endure when fleeing from their homes and living in a refugee camp.

The two-hour experience, which is co-sponsored by Passport Health Plan, cultivates global awareness and compassion through the practice of empathy and perspective-taking. It takes place on Friday, Oct. 7 at Louisville’s Waterfront Park near the Big Four Bridge at two times – from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for schools, and from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. for adults, families, and groups.

During the simulation, participants are divided into small family groups and given a new cultural identity, representing one of the region’s six main resettled refugee populations. These small groups then travel through the simulation where they will encounter the hardships that are common to refugees who live in camps.

The experience begins with participants fleeing their home country and encountering an obstacle course at their “national border.” Those who successfully enter the new country will then proceed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees camp, where they will face the following challenges:

  • registering their family as refugees
  • getting a health examination
  • obtaining and purifying water
  • securing food at distribution area
  • learning a new language

For more information about the event or to register, please click here or send an email to Jud Hendrix at For more information about Global Human Project, please go online to


Passport bringing Health and Resource Fair to Lexington on October 15

lex chip logoPassport Health Plan and the Lexington Community Health Improvement Plan (LEX-CHIP) are co-sponsoring a Health and Resource Fair on Saturday, October 15 in Lexington.

The event, which will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., will take place at Consolidated Baptist Church, 1625 Russell Cave Road, in Lexington. It is free of charge and no registration is required.

There will be a number of different vendors at the Health and Resource Fair, offering health screenings and educational information about resources that are available in the community to help people live healthier lives.

There will also be door prizes, entertainment, refreshments, and much more!

“Health Reports” series is helping make some progress, but we still have work to do to improve our overall health

Insider Louisville LogoA big part of the purpose of the Health Reports series of articles being produced by Insider Louisville is to raise awareness — to showcase stories of the people who suffer from various health problems and introduce you to some of the individuals who are doing the good work to make our region healthier.

And while it’s distressing that there are so many people who suffer, it’s also comforting to live in a community filled with big-hearted folks who are doing important work to make life better for others. There are so many people in Kentucky who have devoted their lives to improving the health of Kentuckians.

In this week’s Passport-sponsored article, take a look back at some of the interesting pieces that have been produced over the past few months. And be sure to drop a line to tell us what health-related issues are important to you.


State officials urge communities to ‘Step It Up’ and help people walk more

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is challenging communities and organizations to join Step It Up, Kentucky!, a statewide campaign that aims to improve the health of all Kentuckians by building the demand for walkable communities.

Public health recommends getting 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week to improve health, which can easily be achieved by walking. People are more likely to make the decision to walk when they have places, programs and policies that provide opportunities and encouragement.

“Getting people to move more starts with improving the places we live, learn, work and play,” Elaine Russell, coordinator for the Obesity Prevention Program, said in a news release. “Communities can be built for people to be active in their everyday life. By providing safe, attractive and convenient places to walk, anybody can incorporate exercise into their daily routine.”

“Step It Up, Kentucky!” has already received numerous endorsements from businesses, organizations, individuals and state leaders, including Gov. Matt Bevin, who issued an official proclamation in support of “Step It Up, Kentucky!”

There are many things communities can do to support “Step It Up, Kentucky!,” including participating in walking programs, working with local coalitions to create spaces and opportunities for walking, or just spreading the message that Kentucky communities need to be redesigned as thriving places for everybody to be active and healthy.

For more information, visit the Partnership for a Fit Kentucky’s website. If you are interested in reading more about obesity prevention, increasing access to physical activity, or what other communities are doing to encourage wellness, visit the Partnership for a Fit Kentucky’s blog.


Kentucky ranks 35th in overall child well-being, according to latest KIDS COUNT Data Book

KY Youth Advocates logoKentucky ranks 35th in the nation in overall child well-being, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2016 KIDS COUNT® Data Book that was just released. In addition, Kentucky ranks 38th in economic well-being, 27th in education, 16th in health, and 37th in the family and community domains.

“The real issue is not a drop or increase of one position, but rather that Kentucky continues to be in the bottom one-third of all states,” Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA) Executive Director Dr. Terry Brooks said in a news release. “Are we really content with the idea that two-thirds of America’s children are better off than Kentucky kids?”

All four indicators in the health category showed improvement for Kentucky: The percent of children without health insurance fell from 10 percent in 2008 to 6 percent in 2014; the rate of child and teen deaths fell from 29 per 100,000 in 2008 to 24 per 100,000 in 2014; the percent of low birth-weight babies fell from 8.2 percent in 2008 to 8.0 percent in 2014; and the percent of teens abusing alcohol or drugs fell from 8 percent in 2007-08 to 5 percent in 2013-14.

“We are seeing better health outcomes for kids in Kentucky, and expanded health coverage and access to quality care play a vital role in making that happen,” Dr. Susan Zepeda, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky said in the news release. “Families have been able to sign up for benefits online, streamlining the enrollment process. The decrease in kids without coverage may be due in part to expanded Medicaid coverage for low income adults that began in January 2014. Research shows that when parents have health coverage their children are more likely to also be signed up for health insurance.”

The national KIDS COUNT Data Book, which was co-released by KYA, provides state-level data and rankings; the 2016 Kentucky KIDS COUNT County Data Book, which includes county-level data and rankings, will be released in November.

To read the full report, please click here. For more information about the Data Book and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, please click here.