Massachusetts Leads As Healthiest State In America

Jon Howard
December 15, 2017

Massachusetts, Hawaii, Vermont, Utah and CT rank as the five most beneficial states, while West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and MS rank the slightest solid in America's Health Rankings, as indicated by the report by the United Health Foundation.

The Bay State won the honor in part due to having the lowest percentage of uninsured residents at just 2.7% of the population, plus a low prevalence of obesity and a high number of mental health providers. Instead, it's MA that's the healthiest state (followed closely by Hawaii). MS and Louisiana were rated 49 and 50 respectively. The 2017 report also ranked MA first for the health of women and children.

However, the top 10 states were not spotless.

America's Health Rankings has released the 2017 Annual Report for the healthiest and unhealthiest states in the country.

"Results show the US has a higher infant mortality rate, a higher prevalence of obesity and a lower life expectancy at birth compared with most OECD member countries", the report says. In the span of 1 year, Florida and Utah made the largest changes in ranking, each jumping 4 spots in the list, while North Dakota made the largest negative change in its ranking, falling 7 spots from 2016.

The 2017 annual report has unveiled that the country is going through serious public health challenges, including an uneven distribution of health care providers and rising rates of premature deaths.

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The report emphasizes a recent overall national health trend that is highly troubling. Drug deaths have decreased slightly, and preventable hospitalizations have decreased by almost forty percent.

Conversely, North Dakota experienced the largest rank decline, falling seven places since past year to number 18.

The highest-ranking states in availability of primary care doctors (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York) have more than 200 per 100,000 people, twice that of the lowest-ranking states (Utah and Idaho), which have fewer than 100 per 100,000 people.

However, immunizations for children dropped significantly this year. "We're failing in our fundamental task to be a healthier nation".

Data is based on statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care and the Health Services and Resource Administration, among other federal and private agencies throughout the U.S. Massachusetts, for example, has 547 mental health providers per 100,000 people, while Alabama has 85 per 100,000.

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