March 6, 2013

162017_132140396847214_292624_nA publication entitled America’s Health Rankings is the joint effort of the United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association, and the Partnership for Prevention, and is funded entirely by the United Health Foundation. As reported in the 2012 edition of America’s Health Rankings, Vermont was the healthiest U.S. state for 2012, for the sixth straight year (Vermont was 17th in 1998 and steadily rose to its current number one ranking). Hawaii moved up from the number 4 spot to second place for 2012 (Hawaii has continuously been in the top six of the healthiest U.S. states since the rankings began). The number three spot belongs to New Hampshire. The next healthiest states were Massachusetts and Minnesota.

The least healthiest U.S. states were Mississippi and Louisiana (tied for that distinction; both have been among the three least healthiest U.S. states since 1990). The other least healthiest states were Arkansas, West Virginia, and South Carolina.

The 50 healthiest-to-least-healthiest U.S. states were, in order:  Vermont, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Connecticut, Utah, New Jersey, Maine, Rhode Island, Colorado, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Idaho, New York, Maryland, Iowa, Virginia, California, Wyoming, Kansas, Arizona, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Alaska, Montana, Illinois, Delaware, New Mexico, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Tennessee, Texas, Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Alabama, South Carolina, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Louisiana and Mississippi (tied for last place).

How Were The Health Rankings Of The U.S. States Determined?

The World Health Organization (“WHO”) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” “Health” is determined by the behaviors of individuals, individual genetic predisposition to disease, the environment and the community in which people live, the clinical care people receive, and the policies and practices of our health care, government, and other prevention systems.

America’s Health Rankings determined the relative health of the states by looking at four groups of intertwined determinants: 1. behaviors that include the everyday activities that affect personal health, 2. community and environment that reflect the reality that the daily conditions in which people live have a great effect on achieving optimal individual health, 3. policy that influences the availability of resources to encourage and to maintain health and the extent that public and health programs reach into the general population, and 4. clinical care that reflects the quality, appropriateness, and cost of care received at doctors’ offices, clinics, and hospitals.

America’s Health Rankings determined the health rankings of the U.S. states by combining individual measures of each of these determinants with the resultant health outcomes into one comprehensive view of the overall health of the states, balancing the contributions of various factors such as smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, binge drinking, high school graduation rates, children in poverty, access to care, and the incidence of preventable disease, to a state’s health.

Source: America’s Health Rankings ©2012 United Health Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

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