United Health Foundation has released its annual report on “America’s Health Rankings,” and reveals some disturbing news. This state-by-state report card showed no improvement in American’s health in the last year, unlike the previous two decades, which saw an average of 1.6 percent per year. Disappointing, and costly for a nation in which the economy has taken a dip and many are uninsured.
Reed Tuckson, a United Health Foundation board member warned that the nation is facing “a tsunami of preventable illness,” which is partially driven by the increase in obesity rates and diabetes in this year’s report.
The most startling fact in the report was that in the last decade the annual improvement in America’s health has declined 69% compared to the 1990s.
In a mere two decades, obesity has risen 15+ points (from 11.6% to 27.5%) in the adult population and could approach 40+ percent by the end of the decade if trends prevail.
Both obesity and diabetes (type 2) are preventable and treatable through lifestyle changes. Five factors are key to avoid becoming a statistic: keep your weight within a normal range (with BMI of 25 or less); eat a healthy diet; refrain from (or quit) smoking; alcohol in moderation; and partake in regular physical exercise (determined to be at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise three or more times per week).
Looking at the healthiest states in America, we see that New England leads the pack, with 6 of the top 10 spots. Surprisingly, not one West Coast state made the grade. In #1 is Vermont, which has steadily risen in the rankings and holds the top spot again this year. New Hampshire rose from #3 to #2 this year, making it the 22nd consecutive year it has been in the Top 10. Coming in third is another East Coast state, Connecticut.
The Top 10 rankings this year are:
You can find the full report by United Health Foundation Here