The United Health Foundation, together with the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the Partnership for Prevention has just released their annual report ranking each state’s health.
2009 State Rankings
The number one healthiest state this year goes to Vermont. The state has had a steady climb in the rankings for the past 12 years, moving up from 20th in 1990. Utah climbed from a ranking of fifth to second this year, followed by Massachusetts (3), Hawaii (4) and New Hampshire (5) to round out the Top 5 healthiest states for 2009. For the second year in a row, Utah leads the nation as the state with the lowest prevalence of smoking, and Colorado ranks as the state with the lowest prevalence of obesity.
Mississippi was at the bottom of the list at 50 this year, followed by Oklahoma (49), Alabama (48), Louisiana (47) and South Carolina (46).
“The primary drivers of poor health and high health care costs are behaviors — tobacco use, poor diet, physical inactivity and alcohol consumption — that are largely preventable,” said Robert J. Gould, Ph.D., president and CEO of Partnership for Prevention. “The increasing incidence of chronic disease poses a severe financial threat to our health care system and economy, but even worse is what it portends for Americans in the future. Without addressing these underlying causes of poor health, we will never be able to do more than provide temporary solutions to the difficult problems facing our health system and the nation’s health.”
This year’s report reveals a 17.5 percent improvement in America’s overall health during the past 15 years. However, the rate of improvement, unfortunately, is slowing significantly.
If you’re wondering where your state ranks, click here www.americashealthrankings.org to see the official report and a chart listing the 50 states.