Most of the yearly roundups we’re getting right now have to do with favorite TV shows or movies. Some, however, deal with far more serious topics, like national health. According to the United Health Foundation, we know the most healthy and unhealthy states in America in 2016. The Foundation releases the list every year (here are the most and least healthy states in 2015). This year, they gave a warning about the health of the country at large.
No matter what state you live in, you can do your part to stay healthy. Maybe you need to incorporate a few easy workout moves into your routine. Or perhaps it’s about adding more veggies to your daily diet. You don’t necessarily have to be scared if your state is on the less healthy end, but it *is* cause for concern.
In the past four years, the prevalence of smoking dropped 17%. That’s obviously really, really great. On the other hand, though, obesity rates are up 157% since 1990. Also, cardiovascular deaths are both up since last year.
So, how did the United Health Foundation come up with their state-by-state rankings? Well, there are a number of factors: behaviors like smoking and drinking account for part of it. Factors like air pollution and poverty also contribute. Finally, available care, and whether citizens have health insurance or public health funding influence the health of the state.
For the fifth year running, Hawaii was declared the healthiest state. The other top healthy states are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Minnesota and Vermont. On the other hand, Mississippi is the lowest-ranking, or least healthy states. Others include Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama and Oklahoma.
Even if you live in one of the healthiest states, all of these results matter. Issues like smoking and obesity do affect the health of all Americans. Do what you can to keep healthy, and, if possible, do extra to combat pollution or get in touch with your elected officials to voice your support for public initiatives that help those living in poverty access health care. With a little work, you can help build a healthier America for yourself, and others.