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10 Healthiest & Unhealthiest States Ranked

10 Healthiest & Unhealthiest States Ranked
December 18
17:38 2015

With all the reports of rising obesity and mental illness rates, have you ever wondered how healthy America really is? The United Health Foundation has compiled a ranking of the healthiest states with help from the American Public Health Association.


The rankings are determined based on a number of factors surrounding behavior and health. Some of these include obesity, cancer, cardiovascular death, smoking, and so on. Other social factors, such as crime, number of people without health insurance, and mental health are considered when creating the ranking as well.


Wondering who the healthiest states are? First, let’s get to the unhealthiest.


  1. Louisiana
  2. Mississippi
  3. Arkansas
  4. West Virginia
  5. Alabama
  6. Oklahoma
  7. Kentucky
  8. Tennessee
  9. South Carolina
  10. Indiana


Many of the states that round out the bottom ten are in this position because of high rates of obesity. In fact, that seems to be a common theme among many of the Southern states. West Virginia, on the other hand, made the cut thanks to high rates of smoking and low immunization coverage for children.


Now, onto the top 10 healthiest states of America. Can you guess who made the #1 spot without scrolling through?


  1. Nebraska

Nebraska residents take few mental health days every year, and have a high rate of high school graduates, which helped pull this state into the top 10. Some of the challenges faced are excessive drinking and low immunization for Tdap.


  1. Washington

This state is heart-healthy! Washington residents reported a lower rate of cardiovascular deaths than others, as well as lower infectious disease incidents. These residents have room for improvement, however, when it comes to graduating high school and slowing down with the consumption of alcohol.


  1. Colorado

Unlike the Southern states, Colorado has a low rate of obesity among its residents, and similarly, low rates of physical inactivity. Maybe it’s all of those mountain hikers!


  1. Utah

Colorado’s next door neighbor also ranks on the top 10 due to its low rates of smoking, cancer deaths and diabetes. Utah residents do however, have a high rate of drug deaths and low immunization coverage.


  1. Connecticut

Despite high rates of excessive drinking and low public health funding, Connecticut ranks high on this list because of its high immunizations, low premature death rate and infectious disease cases.


  1. New Hampshire

High immunization rates among both children and adolescents helped New Hampshire hit the #5 spot, however high excessive drinking and drug-related deaths prevented this state from being further up the list.


  1. Minnesota

This state struggles with drinking and low HPV immunization among males, however residents here reported fewer sick days and also have low cardiovascular death rates.


  1. Massachusetts

Excessive drinking seems to be a theme in the northeast, and that trend continues with Massachusetts, which pulled this state away from the top two spots, along with a high violent crime rate. Benefits of Massachusetts include a low rate of uninsured residents, as well as low obesity and mortality rates.


  1. Vermont

A low violent crime rate and mortality rate helped Vermont snag the #2 spot, but a high rate of pertussis and a large disparity in health status by education level prevented it from taking the top prize.


  1. Hawaii

How could anyone be unhappy in Hawaii? Turns out, they’re not! Hawaii residents have fewer poor mental health days as well as low rates of obesity and preventable hospitalizations. The only downsides of this state? Excessive drinking, high rates of salmonella and low immunization for Tdap. Sounds like a small price to pay to live in Hawaii.


As a whole, the report showed that America is seeing increased rates of obesity and diabetes. On the other hand, American kids in general are becoming more vaccinated and people are smoking less overall. Some states are making improvements based on previous years, like North Carolina, which earned the most Improved State title, jumping from #37 in 2014 to #31 in 2015, thanks to increased vaccinations and physical activity.



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Mina Sinai

Mina Sinai

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