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Fewer than half of Kentucky adults report excellent or very good health

Feb 14, 2019


In the United States, life expectancy has decreased in recent years.1 In Kentucky, death rates for cancer, chronic respiratory disease, accidents, kidney disease, diabetes, blood poisoning, heart disease and drug overdose are among the nation’s highest.2

The Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) asked Kentucky adults how they would rate their own health. Studies show that this general self-rated health status is associated with actual health conditions and risk of dying.3 KHIP is jointly funded by Interact for Health and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

KHIP asked, “Would you say that, in general, your health is excellent, very good, good, fair or poor?” Overall, the percentage of Kentucky adults reporting excellent or very good health has dropped from almost half in 2008 (49%) to 4 in 10 in 2018 (40%).

Higher-income adults’ health status declines In 2008, more than 6 in 10 Kentucky adults (66%) who lived in households with income more than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG)4 said their health was excellent or very good. In 2018 only 5 in 10 of these Kentucky adults (49%) said this. Since 2008 about 3 in 10 Kentucky adults who lived in households with income of 200% FPG or less have consistently reported excellent or very good health. 

Overall, adults with lower household incomes were less likely than adults with higher household incomes to r eport excellent or very good health. Research has identified economic stability as one of the key social factors influencing the health of a community.5

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Mortality in the United States, 2017. Accessed Jan. 2019 from

2.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Stats of the State of Kentucky. Accessed Jan. 2019 from

3. DeSalvo, K.B., et al. (2006) Mortality Prediction with a Single General Self-Rated Health Question: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 21(3). 267-275.

4.  In 2017, 200% FPG was $49,200 for a family of four. The value is set yearly.

5.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Healthy People 2020: Social Determinants of Health. Accessed Jan. 2019 from

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