Healthiest State Rankings Of 2012

Americans, on a whole, are dying less from cancer and heart-related causes, but at the same time, chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and sedentary living are on the rise, according to a new report ranking the health of each U.S. state.

The report, released by UnitedHealth Group's nonprofit, the United Health Foundation, in association with the American Public Health Association and the Partnership for Prevention, shows that 27.8 percent of all Americans are obese, 9.5 percent have diabetes, 30.8 percent have hypertension and 26.2 percent lead sedentary lifestyles.

However, premature deaths and deaths from heart disease and cancer have decreased since 1990.

"As a nation, we've made extraordinary gains in longevity over the past decades, but as individuals we are regressing in our health," Dr. Reed Tuckson, M.D., medical adviser to the United Health Foundation and chief of medical affairs for UnitedHealth Group, said in a statement.

The report also showed disparities in other health categories between the states who scored the highest for health, and the states that scored the lowest. For example, the five least healthy states had smoking rates between 23.1 percent and 28.6 percent, compared with 16.8 percent to 19.4 percent in the five most healthy states.

Similar patterns were seen for sedentary behavior: In the five least healthy states, sedentary lifestyles -- defined as 30 days of not exercising outside of work -- were led by 27.2 to 36 percent of people, compared with 21 to 35 percent in the five healthiest states.

The rankings of the states are based on the results of telephone interviews. Determinants include smoking, binge drinking, obesity, high school graduation rates, sedentary lifestyle, children in poverty, infectious disease cases, air pollution, violent crime, health insurance, immunizations, primary care doctors, hospitalizations, and rate of conditions and deaths, such as cancer, obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Click through the slideshow to see the rankings, from the healthiest to the least-healthy state. How did your state fare?

1. Vermont

2012 Healthiest State Rankings

Popular in the Community