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Report shows a sharp increase in excessive drinking among Missouri women

Adrian Scottow

A nationwide health study of women and children found a sharp increase in excessive drinking among Missouri women. The report stressed the need for more research on mental and behavioral health of women and children.

The findings are part of America’s Health Rankings, released annually for the last 30 years by the nonprofit United Health Foundation. The data was collected from 2013 to 2019 and looks at 118 health metrics for each state. Findings showed a 30% increase in excessive drinking in women ages 18-44 in Missouri during those years. Missouri also ranks 47th in tobacco use among women and 45th in smoking during pregnancy. Dr. Ravi Johar, chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare of Missouri, says it’s possible mental health may be affecting these rates.

Nationally, he says, anxiety is up.

“One in five women, 18 percent — Almost 20% of women said that out of the last 30 days, they did not feel well for 14 of those at least,” Johar told KSMU. 

Johar says he hopes the data will be used by researchers and policymakers to find the cause of these trends and to improve the health of women and children.

Josh Conaway is a graduate of Missouri State University with a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in International Affairs. He works as a news reporter and announcer at KSMU. His favorite part of the job is exploring the rich diversity of the Ozarks and meeting people with interesting stories to share. He has a passion for history and running.