Hawaii the healthiest state, Mississippi the least healthiest

Dec. 11, 2013 at 10:45 PM
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MINNETONKA, Minn., Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Hawaii is ranked the healthiest state followed by Vermont, Minnesota, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, with Mississippi last, a non-profit groups says.

United Health Foundation's America's Health Rankings -- published jointly by United Health Foundation, American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention -- found Mississippi remained locked in last place, with Arkansas ranked 49th, Louisiana 48th, Alabama 47th and West Virginia 46th.

Top-ranked Hawaii scored well along most measures particularly: low rates of uninsured individuals, high rates of childhood immunization, and low rates of obesity, smoking and preventable hospitalizations. But it has higher-than-average rates of binge drinking and occupational fatalities, and lower-than-average rates of high school graduation.

Although smoking prevalence in adults in Mississippi declined by 8.3 percent in the past year, more than a half million adults still smoke in this state, and the prevalences of obesity, physical inactivity and diabetes remained among the highest in the nation.

Mississippi ranked last in the nation for infectious disease incidence, but in the past year, despite ranking last in the nation for immunization coverage among adolescents, coverage increased from 30.2 percent to 35.4 percent for teens ages 13-17. In the past two years, the preventable hospitalization rate decreased by 11 for Medicare enrollee and it has a low prevalence of binge drinking.

Overall, U.S. adults improved in the majority of the measures considered in the rankings. Smoking dropped from 21.2 percent of the U.S. adult population in 2012 to 19.6 percent in 2013. Seventeen states had significant drops in smoking, with the largest in Nevada, Maryland, Oklahoma, Kansas and Vermont.

Physical inactivity dropped from 26.2 percent of the adult population to 22.9 percent.

America's obesity rate remained approximately the same as reported in 2012 -- 27.6 percent of the adult population in 2013 compared with 27.8 percent in 2012. This was the first time since 1998 that obesity rates have not worsened, the report found.

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