Sammy Nickalls
December 13, 2015 7:34 am

Health care has long been a source of debate in U.S. politics. However, as USA Today points out, even though we spend the most on health care per capita, we’re two years behind the average life expectancy among developed nations.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed and ranked 50 states based based on data provided by United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings, which uses factors such as the presence of diseases, health care quality, and how much deaths could have been prevented, as well as behaviors such as smoking and drinking. In this way, the report measures not only health, but what leads to the poor health of Americans.

“Almost always, the conversation about health in America is a conversation about insurance and access to medical care as opposed to being about the prevention of disease and promotion of health,” Dr. Reed Tuckson, senior medical advisor for United Health Foundation, told 24/7 Wall St. “We are producing far too many unnecessarily sick people who are being delivered every day into the hands of a medical care system that we can no longer afford.”

Largely, the health factors included in the report are tied to income, Tuckson explained to 24/7 Wall Street.

“Overall, we are concerned that we are becoming two nations, when it comes to our health. Those that are socioeconomically more privileged have significantly better health statistics than people that are not doing as well socioeconomically,” he said. “. . . From my experience as a public health official, when you don’t have as much of a sense of hope and optimism about your future, you tend not to take the steps necessary to protect that future.”

Here are the most and least healthy states.

Healthiest:

1. Hawaii

2. Vermont

3. Massachusetts

4. Minnesota

5. New Hampshire

Unhealthiest:

46. Alabama

47. West Virginia

48. Arkansas

49. Mississippi

50. Louisiana

Check out the full list here to see where your state ranks.

(Image via Shutterstock.)

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