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America's healthiest and least healthy states

Despite years of efforts to even out health disparities across the United States, some states are dramatically health...

Posted: Dec 12, 2017 7:52 PM
Updated: Dec 12, 2017 7:52 PM

Despite years of efforts to even out health disparities across the United States, some states are dramatically healthier than others, according to a new report.

Massachusetts, Hawaii, Vermont, Utah and Connecticut rank as the five healthiest states, while West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi rank the least healthy in America's Health Rankings, according to the report by the United Health Foundation.

Massachusetts, Hawaii, Vermont, Utah and Connecticut rank as the five healthiest states

West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi rank the least healthy

The rankings take into account a variety of health factors, such as rates of infectious diseases, obesity, physical inactivity, smoking and infant mortality, as well as air pollution levels and the availability of health care providers.

This is the first time Massachusetts has been named the healthiest state, ending Hawaii's five-year reign.

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.

Mississippi and Louisiana, ranked 49th and 50th, have major health challenges, according to the report, including a high prevalence of smoking, obesity and children in poverty.

"We don't have a system with everybody in," said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, which was not involved in the new report. "We're failing in our fundamental task to be a healthier nation."

The report, America's Health Rankings, has been analyzing state health standings for 28 years.

This latest report shows that the nation's health overall is getting worse.

The nation's premature death rate -- the number of years of potential life lost before age 75 -- increased 3% since 2015.

That increase is driven in part by drug deaths, which increased 7% during that time, and cardiovascular deaths, which went up 2%.

That leaves the United States ranking 27th in terms of life expectancy in a comparison of 35 countries, according to the report.

Benjamin said it's frustrating to see these numbers, despite the fact that the US spends significantly more on health care than other nations, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

"We're spending more on health care and we die sooner," he said. "We need to do a time out and figure out how to do this better."

Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control, said the trends in higher death rates from cardiovascular disease and drug use can be reversed if four principles are followed.

The first is to follow the "ABCs" suggested by the federal Million Hearts program, which calls for aspirin when appropriate, blood pressure control, cholesterol management and smoking cessation.

The second is to reduce smoking nationwide through measures such as increased tobacco taxes and making all workplaces smoke-free.

The third is for the federal government to take 10 steps to reduce the opioid epidemic, including more cautious prescribing of drugs by doctors.

The fourth step is to decrease obesity by measures such as taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages.

"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.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 90942

Reported Deaths: 2021
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin26054922
Ramsey10572318
Dakota7216125
Anoka5801132
Stearns381223
Washington361055
Scott245833
Olmsted231927
Nobles193616
Blue Earth16116
Wright15407
St. Louis140034
Carver13607
Rice13088
Mower12935
Clay128140
Sherburne110414
Kandiyohi9332
Winona85218
Lyon6524
Waseca5338
Freeborn5223
Steele5222
Benton5153
Watonwan5064
Nicollet50416
Todd4792
Chisago4581
McLeod4522
Le Sueur4454
Crow Wing43918
Otter Tail4004
Beltrami3795
Goodhue3329
Martin3299
Pine2840
Itasca28213
Polk2754
Isanti2650
Douglas2622
Becker2482
Carlton2451
Cottonwood2190
Pipestone2159
Unassigned21252
Morrison2081
Dodge2020
Chippewa1971
Sibley1843
Meeker1832
Brown1802
Wabasha1800
Yellow Medicine1622
Murray1572
Rock1550
Mille Lacs1503
Redwood1420
Renville1367
Jackson1341
Faribault1320
Cass1313
Swift1231
Roseau1170
Houston1140
Pennington1121
Fillmore1110
Koochiching1113
Kanabec1098
Lincoln1020
Stevens931
Pope890
Hubbard830
Aitkin731
Big Stone700
Wadena670
Grant594
Lake570
Wilkin563
Norman520
Marshall501
Lac qui Parle470
Mahnomen461
Red Lake390
Traverse300
Clearwater260
Lake of the Woods211
Kittson120
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 80698

Reported Deaths: 1275
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk15366259
Woodbury504263
Johnson501127
Black Hawk437586
Linn3808108
Story331517
Dubuque282341
Scott281827
Dallas269838
Pottawattamie200238
Buena Vista195112
Marshall176234
Sioux13723
Wapello127157
Webster120214
Clinton107419
Muscatine106854
Plymouth105820
Crawford10145
Cerro Gordo100221
Warren9326
Jasper77232
Des Moines7407
Marion7265
Tama69431
Carroll6375
Henry6204
Lee5997
Wright5631
Dickinson4876
Boone4788
Bremer4687
Washington43211
Louisa42515
Mahaska34619
Delaware3423
Franklin34218
Hamilton3153
Jackson3043
Floyd3023
Winneshiek2995
Clay2963
Benton2871
Hardin2841
Winnebago27511
Butler2622
Lyon2603
Clarke2563
Emmet25210
Poweshiek2528
Buchanan2511
Allamakee2486
Jones2483
Shelby2441
Clayton2343
Guthrie2315
Kossuth2310
Cedar2231
Chickasaw2220
Sac2200
Grundy2062
Madison2062
Cherokee2042
Fayette2002
Iowa1921
Mitchell1830
Howard1826
Harrison1812
Humboldt1763
Hancock1742
Calhoun1722
Mills1691
Palo Alto1630
Pocahontas1542
Lucas1526
Monroe15010
Page1420
Monona1401
Cass1362
Jefferson1341
Osceola1300
Appanoose1253
Taylor1241
Union1223
Davis1164
Van Buren1111
Ida1030
Worth1030
Keokuk911
Fremont900
Greene890
Montgomery885
Wayne842
Audubon681
Adair671
Decatur600
Ringgold442
Adams290
Unassigned70
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