The America’s Health Rankings Annual Report is out — how healthy is your state? - Vox Creative

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The America’s Health Rankings Annual Report is out — how healthy is your state?

This feature was produced by America’s Health Rankings, and does not reflect the opinions or point of view of Vox Media or Vox Creative. Vox Media editorial staff was not involved in the creation or production of this content.

By Anita Manning

When it comes to your health, where you live matters. As the United Health Foundation's 2015 America's Health Rankings Annual Report shows, some states do better than others on key indicators of good health.

The latest edition of this state-by-state ranking, published annually for 26 years, finds significant progress in addressing specific public health risks, but it also notes there is much more work to be done. State health departments, policy advocates, academics, and other stakeholders mine the data and use it to spur action and focus resources where they're most needed locally.

To find out how your state stacks up against others, you can download the 2015 America's Health Rankings Annual Report at www.americashealthrankings.org.

Nationally, the report's data shows that Americans are making meaningful progress on key health metrics including smoking less, which has dropped 5 percent in the last year, and leading less sedentary lives, the prevalence of which decreased 11 percent. Other areas of long-term success include a decline in cardiovascular deaths and an all-time low for infant mortality in the United States.

However, the report also illustrates that more can be done to address rising rates of drug deaths, a greater percentage of Americans living with obesity and diabetes, and a higher percentage of children living in poverty.

In this year's report, Hawaii holds the top spot — as it has for four consecutive years. It has consistently been among the top six healthiest states since America's Health Rankings Annual Report began. Hot on Hawaii's heels are Vermont, in second place, and Massachusetts, in third. Minnesota and New Hampshire each moved up two spots to reclaim their fourth and fifth ranks, respectively, after dropping out of the top five in 2014.

Looking at the states with the greatest opportunity to improve, Louisiana ranked 50th, moving Mississippi out of last place into the 49th spot. Other states in the bottom five include Arkansas (48), West Virginia (47), and Alabama (46).

North Carolina had the greatest improvement in the last year, jumping six places from 37 to 31, largely due to a decline in rates of sedentary behavior and increased percentages of immunizations in children.

In 2016, the United Health Foundation will expand its offerings, which already includes a Senior Report that takes an in-depth look at the health of Americans aged 65 and older. New population reports on the health of mothers and children and on veterans' health are planned, along with spotlight reports on key topics, including substance abuse, prevention, healthy lifestyles, and mental health.

To be the first to receive new reports from America's Health Rankings and also sign up for a newsletter that features information on how communities are improving their health, interviews with public health leaders, and much more, visit www.americashealthrankings.org/newsletter/subscribe.

This feature was produced by America’s Health Rankings, and does not reflect the opinions or point of view of Vox Media or Vox Creative. Vox Media editorial staff was not involved in the creation or production of this content.


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