Missouri ranked 50th in public health funding.

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COLUMBIA - Missouri is falling behind in overall health. The state is ranked 50th nationwide in public health care funding and dropped to 40th in terms of overall health rankings. 

The Missouri Public Health Conference began Wednesday to address these issues.

Missouri is ranked so low because it barely has enough funds for health care and no funds available for prevention. The state then has to depend on the federal government.

"It's gonna be an issue we have to watch...we've had 37 percent of our state public health funding cut over the last five years. I think we'll have a bigger cut next year, we're worried about federal grants. And so many of the services that people are used to getting from the Health Department are going to be threatened if that continues," Columbia and Boone County's Public Health Director Stephanie Browning said. 

Browning said one of Columbia's biggest funding needs is chronic disease prevention.

The conference runs until Friday. It will cover other health topics such as healthy weight, food safety, mental health issues, healthy behaviors in schools, healthy relationships and community gardens. For more information about the conference, visit the city's website.