Healthiest States In America: Hawaii Comes Out On Top, Mississippi Dead Last

Hawaii: The Most Healthy State in America
The American Health Foundation has named Hawaii the most healthy state in America for the third year in a row in its annual America's Health Rankings report. Courtesy of Shutterstock

Moving to Hawaii is a dream come true for many people who wish to relax on its tropical shores and take in its breath-taking sunset. But making that dream actually come true might just be the right idea, especially for when it comes to improving health and physique.

The United Health Foundation has named the Aloha State as number one its 25th edition of America’s Health Rankings. The tropical paradise of the Pacific has held the number one position since 2012, according to the NY Daily News, with its ranking based on low levels of obesity and cancer-related deaths. It also experienced a 21 percent decrease in smoking among adults over the past two years and has the lowest number of preventable hospitalizations in America, though that number has increased by 13 percent in the last two years.

"We applaud hard-won advances in several key measures, including smoking prevalence, even as this year's America's Health Rankings is a solemn reminder that we have a lot more work ahead of us," Dr. Reed Tuckson, senior medical adviser to United Health Foundation told the Daily News.

Rankings were based off information collected on improvements and flaws in the health field that the US has experienced, with declines in infant mortality and smoking by four and three percent, respectively along with a five percent increase in immunization coverage.

 The U.S., though, did not fare well in other categories with a seven percent boost in both obesity and death brought on by drug overdoses. Cases of whooping cough surged this year by 154 percent along with a small rise of 3 percent in physical inactivity.

One state in particular to steer clear of is Mississippi which was rated the least healthy state, a position it has also held since 2012. The Magnolia state is marked by high levels of physical inactivity, low immunization rates among teens and a high number of low birth weights not to mention that it is the state with the highest infant mortality rate and the largest number chlamydia cases, which increased by eight percent this year.  

That being said, Mississippi has experienced reductions in low birth weights and preventable hospitalization numbers over the past five years along with a 30 percent decrease in infant mortality rates since 1990. Hawaii in comparison is plagued by low immunization coverage for children and high rates of binge drinking, both of which are low in Mississippi.

States down South were found to fare worse than states up North and to the West with Vermont being declared the most healthy mainland state and Utah the healthiest in the West. New York ranked at 14 with California behind at 17. Alaska, the other non-mainland state, was number 26. Maryland experienced the highest improvement, ranking in at number 16 from 24 last year.

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