Many people think of Hawaii as a tourist paradise, but apparently life is pretty good for residents there, too. For the fourth year in a row, the Aloha State tops the list of America’s healthiest states.
The report, put out by the United Health Foundation, ranks Hawaii the best thanks to its low prevalence of obesity, low rates of preventable hospitalizations, and few poor mental health days claimed by its residents.
The annual report scored states on those factors as well as dozens of others, including percentage of smokers and drinkers, infectious disease rates, immunization of children, number of doctors and health outcomes. Sources include data from the Department of Commerce, the Word Health Organization and the American Medical Association.
Vermont and Massachusetts ranked second and third on the list, respectively, and Minnesota and New Hampshire rounded out the top 5.
The unhealthiest states on the list were Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas.
Now in its 25th year, “America’s Health Rankings” highlights the challenges facing public health in the nation. National trends reflected in this year’s report included a decline in smoking, an increase in immunization rates and a decrease in preventable hospitalizations.
Outstanding challenges include growth in the rates of drug-related fatalities, diabetes rates, and childhood obesity and poverty rates. Obesity remains a problem for adults as well, contributing to some 200,000 deaths per year. A third of Americans adults are obese and face a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, liver disease, kidney disease and dementia.