The United Health Foundation released its annual report of the healthiest and unhealthiest states in the U.S. and New Yorkers aren’t doing half bad!
In its 28th year, the 2017 report analyzes the physical, mental and social well-being of the citizens of the nation and each state, as well as factors like pollution, lack of disease, infant mortality and availability of healthcare providers.
Massachusetts leads the country as the healthiest state, followed by Hawaii and Vermont, while Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi round out the bottom as the least healthy states. New York stands at a solid 10th place, just above Rhode Island and New Jersey.
According to the report, New York has a low prevalence of obesity, high numbers of primary care physicians and low premature death rates, but don’t exercise enough, have high rates of chlamydia and there is a large disparity in health status and level of education. New York was 13th last year, so a welcome improvement.
Hawaii dropped to number two after a five-year run at number one. Florida and Utah made the most improvements in rank — each rising four places — while North Dakota fell seven spots from 11 in 2016 to 18 this year.
According to the report, the country has seen a 3% increase in premature deaths (counted as the years of potential life lost before age 75) since 2015 and a 7% increase in drug deaths in the last year alone.
The opioid crisis was a major focus of the report. States with the highest prevalence of drug-related deaths include West Virginia, Kentucky and Rhode Island. Six out of 10 drug deaths in the last year were from opioids.
The report also says that even in some of the healthiest states, mortality rates were up because of the opioid crisis, including New Hampshire (8), Massachusetts (1), and Rhode Island (11), who all saw major increases in drug deaths in the last five years.
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The states were ranked by dozens of other factors in the 176-page report, including the highest obesity rates (West Virginia), most children in poverty (Mississippi), least physically active (Arkansas), and least public health funding (Nevada).
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