A new report reveals a rise in obesity and inactivity. It also ranks the nation’s health on a state-by-state basis. Find out who made the list for America’s most (and least) healthy states.
Americans continue to struggle with obesity and slothfulness.
That’s according to America’s Health Rankings, an annual state-by-state analysis of the nation’s health by the United Health Foundation. The report analyzed health policy, quality of health care, healthy behaviors, and the presence of diseases and deaths from illnesses across the U.S.
According to ABC News, Dr. Reed Tuckson, external senior medical adviser to the United Health Foundation, said obesity continues to be a significant health issue in the U.S.
“Since 1990, the obesity rate went from 11.6 percent to 29.4 percent, a 153 percent increase,” Tuckson says. In the last year alone, it rose 7 percent. Physical inactivity is also at a new high: 23.5 percent of Americans do not exercise at all.
But some states are bucking the negative trend. The five healthiest states in the U.S. are:
- Hawaii. For the third year in a row, Hawaii came out on top of the states’ health rankings. “Its continued presence among the top states is due to its low prevalence of both smoking and obesity; a low percentage of children in poverty; small disparity in health status by education level; and low rates of preventable hospitalizations, cancer deaths, and cardiovascular deaths,” the report said.
- Vermont. Nearly 8 in 10 Vermonters exercise regularly, and most residents eat more than two servings of vegetables a day.
- Massachusetts. According to 24/7 Wall St., Massachusetts has the lowest rate in the country (3.8 percent) of people without health insurance. It also has the highest concentration of primary care physicians and dentists, along with low rates for obesity, smoking and physical inactivity.
- Connecticut. It has one of the nation’s lowest smoking and obesity rates. Connecticut also has high rates for child immunizations and concentration of doctors and dentists, the report said.
- Utah. It has one of the lowest rates of smoking and binge drinking, 24/7 Wall St. said. Utah also earns high marks when it comes to regular exercise.
The South is home to the five least healthy states in the U.S.
- Mississippi. For the third consecutive year, the Magnolia State was ranked as America’s least healthy state. “It ranks in the bottom five states on 16 of the 27 measures including a high prevalence of obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes, children in poverty, and low birth weight infants; low high school graduation rate; limited availability of primary care physicians and dentists; and a high incidence of infectious disease,” the report said.
- Arkansas. When it comes to childhood vaccinations, Arkansas has the worst rate in the country at just 57 percent. Nationwide, about 70 percent of children are immunized. At just 55 percent, Arkansans are also the least likely to visit the dentist on an annual basis.
- Louisiana. Louisianans struggle with obesity, poor diets and smoking, the report said.
- Kentucky. “While nationally cancer deaths have fallen 4 percent since 1990 to a rate of 189 per 100,000 Americans, the prevalence of cancer in Kentucky remain[s] stubbornly high,” 24/7 Wall St. said. Kentucky leads the nation in cancer deaths, with 228 deaths per 100,000 people. Kentucky also has the second highest smoking rate (26 percent).
- Oklahoma. The Sooner State has one of the country’s lowest rates of childhood vaccinations (63 percent), as well as one of the highest percentages (18 percent) of residents without health insurance. Oklahomans struggle more than most other Americans with chronic conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, according to 24/7 Wall St.