Your health: The healthiest and least healthy states in the US

John Tlumacki  The Boston Globe

MA is the healthiest state in the country, according to a report published Tuesday by the United Health Foundation.

This is a first for MA as the healthiest state, dethroning Hawaii's five-year stint at the top.

MS and Louisiana, ranked 49th and 50th, were found to have big health problems, including high smoking rates, obesity and children living in poverty.

That leaves the United States positioning 27th regarding future in a correlation of 35 nations, as indicated by the report.

America's Health Rankings has released the 2017 Annual Report for the healthiest and unhealthiest states in the country. They have been found to have a high prevalence of children in poverty, obesity, and smoking.

Utah, which came fourth, was singled out as the most improved state alongside Florida, each rising four places to number four and number 32 respectively. In addition, poor rankings in smoking, violent crime, public health funding, air pollution and excessive drinking landed the state in the bottom half for health in the nation.

North Dakota was the state to experience the greatest drop in rankings, seven places to No. 18, showing poor rankings in rates of smoking, salmonella infection and immunizations among children in the past year. In the past two years, the percentage of children living in poverty decreased by 38 percent, from 17.6 percent to 11 percent of children.

Some of that increase is driven by a 2 percent rise in cardiovascular deaths during that period - a rise that follows a 25-year pattern of continuously decreasing cardiovascular deaths.

MA has been climbing in the rankings since the first report was released in 1990, according to the United Health Foundation.

The rankings highlighted the vast differences in health and health care across the country. "Massachusetts is proud to have the lowest number of uninsured residents in the country and robust public health efforts, and our administration will keep working across all levels of government to ensure quality healthcare and a safe, healthy environment for our residents to live, work and play".

"Increases in cardiovascular deaths and drug overdoses can be reversed, but it will take concerted action by government, health systems, communities and individuals", Frieden, now president and CEO of the group Resolve to Save Lives, wrote in an email.

For example, MA has more than six times the concentration of mental health providers than Alabama, which has the lowest concentration of any state at 85 providers per 100,000 people.

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