Health improvement slowing in U.S.

Dec. 13, 2005 at 7:19 AM

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The rate of improvement in overall health in the United States has slowed since the 1990s, according to the 16th annual America's Health Rankings.

Researchers said that during the 1990s, overall health improved by 1.5 percent a year, which has slipped to .3 percent since 2000. They blame the increase in obesity, a slowdown in anti-smoking efforts, growing poverty and stagnation in efforts to improve prenatal care.

"Our nation's slowing rate of improvement should be of concern to us all," said Dr. William McGuire, chairman of United Health Foundation. "Failure to address this trend, and especially to decrease the risk factors that are associated with premature death and disease, will result in preventable misery and unnecessary death for too many Americans in the years to come."

Minnesota was ranked as the healthiest state, followed by Vermont, New Hampshire, Utah, Hawaii and North Dakota. The least healthy states were Tennessee and Louisiana with Mississippi at the bottom.

The report was released at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting in Philadelphia.

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