While there has been a significant decline in the mortality rate over the last few decades, and the smoking rate is at its lowest ever, the U.S. still struggles with high incidence of chronic health conditions.(Photo: mdgovpics / Flickr)
The United States is one of the richest and most developed countries in the world, and its spending on health care is by far the largest in the world. But, as it turns out, money doesnt always buy health. While there has been a significant decline in the mortality rate over the last few decades, and the smoking rate is at its lowest ever, the U.S. still struggles with high incidence of chronic health conditions.
24/7 Tempo examined the 20 healthiest states in America from the United Health Foundations 2019 Health Rankings report. It includes such factors as healthy behaviors, quality of health care, health policy, the presence of diseases, and deaths from illnesses across the nation.
Health varies considerably between states. The prevalence of diabetes has increased dramatically in the United States in recent years, going from 9.5% in 2012 to 10.9% in 2018. However, in the 20 healthiest states in the country, the rates of diabetes are less than the national rate of nearly 11% of adults. Also since 2012, obesity levels have increased from 27.8% to 30.9% of adults. Only four of the 20 healthiest states in America have a higher adult obesity rate than the national.
Healthy behaviors and lifestyles are also major contributors to good health. Just over 75% of Americans report regular physical activity. In only two of the 20 healthiest states, fewer people exercise regularly. But working out is just one way people can stay healthy. Nutrition plays a major, if not a more important, role and here are 29 healthy habits that will change your life.
Taxes 2020: When to file and what changes to expect
Might not have money to invest?: You do and here's how to start.
The cost of poor health can be measured in years of life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) track premature deaths, as measured by the number of years lost when people do not live to age 75. In 2019, the CDC estimated that nearly 7,500 years were lost for every 100,000 Americans. This figure was lower in all of the 20 healthiest states.
Money is also a factor in determining health. The healthiest states are often among the nations wealthiest, and only two of the 20 healthiest states have a median household income under the national median in 2018. Not everybody has a job that pays six figures, but there are ways to make some extra money these are 18 hobbies you can actually make money on.
Iowa.(Photo: Nathan Masters / iStock)
Premature death rate (per 100,000): 6,733 (16th lowest)
Adult obesity rate: 35.3% (7th highest)
Adult smoking rate: 16.6% (23rd highest)
Median household income: $59,955 (25th highest)
Iowa makes the list of healthiest states in the country based on a wide range of factors. Only 9.6% of the population reported 14 or more days of poor physical health in a month the second smallest share of all states compared to a national average of 12%.
The low uninsured rate in the state just 4.7% of Iowans do not have health insurance, the sixth smallest share in the country may also be a major factor. People without health insurance are more likely than those with insurance to delay going to the doctor or forgo taking care of their health altogether.
Premature death rate (per 100,000): 7,412 (23rd lowest)
Adult obesity rate: 29% (14th lowest)
Adult smoking rate: 18.8% (16th highest)
Median household income: $61,584 (20th highest)
Wyoming has one of the lowest rates of cancer-related deaths, the second leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease. There are 169.5 cancer deaths per 100,000 people in Wyoming, the sixth lowest rate in the country and way below the U.S. average of 189.3 per 100,000 people.
Diabetes, a disease that affects about a tenth of the U.S. population, is also relatively uncommon in Wyoming. An estimated 8.7% of adults in Wyoming have been diagnosed, the fifth lowest percentage in the country.
Premature death rate (per 100,000): 7,689 (23rd highest)
Adult obesity rate: 30.9% (25th highest)
Adult smoking rate: 12.5% (5th lowest)
Median household income: $83,242 (the highest)
One factor contributing to Maryland's better-than-average health outcomes and behaviors may be income. The higher the income, the lower the likelihood of disease and premature death, as wealthier people can afford healthier diets and have more access to high-quality health care. Maryland has the highest median household income and the fourth lowest poverty rate in the country.
It also has a relatively small share of adults who drink excessively 14.6%, compared to a U.S. average of 18.2%. Over time, excessive drinking can lead to serious problems, such as hypertension, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems.
Premature death rate (per 100,000): 6,555 (11th lowest)
Adult obesity rate: 34.1% (15th highest)
Adult smoking rate: 16% (24th lowest)
Median household income: $59,566 (25th lowest)
Compared to the rest of the country, relatively few people in Nebraska report frequent mental or physical distress. Only 11.2% of the state's adult population reported 14 or more days of poor mental health in one month, the 10th smallest share in the country. There is a strong correlation between frequent mental distress and diagnosed mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety, according to the United Health Foundation. About 10.2% reported 14 or more days of poor physical health in one month, the sixth smallest share in the United States.
Nebraskans also have relatively healthy behaviors. For example, from 2015 to 2017 there were just 7.2 drug-related deaths per 100,000 residents a year, less than half the national rate and the lowest rate in the country.
Premature death rate (per 100,000): 6,669 (15th lowest)
Adult obesity rate: 28.4% (12th lowest)
Adult smoking rate: 14.7% (16th lowest)
Median household income: $55,583 (15th lowest)
Idaho has a low rate of preventable hospitalizations, a measure that reflects how efficiently people use outpatient services as well as the overall quality of health care in a state. There are 32.3 preventable hospitalizations per 1,000 Medicare enrollees the fourth lowest rate compared to the national rate of 49.4 per 1,000. Public health funding may also play a role in Idaho's ranking among the healthiest states. The state spends an average of $150 per person on public health annually, the fourth largest amount, compared to a national average of $87 per person. The money is used to pay for programs promoting physical activity, healthy nutrition, and smoking prevention.
Virginia.(Photo: thinair28 / Getty Images)
Premature death rate (per 100,000): 6,914 (20th lowest)
Adult obesity rate: 30.3% (22nd lowest)
Adult smoking rate: 14.9% (17th lowest)
Median household income: $72,577 (10th highest)
Virginia residents report some of the healthiest behaviors of any state. While nationwide 23.8% of U.S. adults do not exercise regularly, in Virginia just 22% of adults are inactive one of the smaller shares of any state. Similarly, just 14.9% of Virginia adults smoke, less than the 16.1% national smoking rate.
One factor contributing to Virginia's above-average health outcomes and behaviors may be income. It has the tenth highest median household income, at $72,577, compared to the U.S. median of $61,937. Also, 10.7% of households in Virginia earn more than $200,000 a year, the sixth largest share among all states.
14. North Dakota
Premature death rate (per 100,000): 6,914 (20th lowest)
Adult obesity rate: 35.1% (8th highest)
Adult smoking rate: 19.1% (12th highest)
Median household income: $63,837 (18th highest)
Even though North Dakota has the 12th highest adult smoking rate and the eighth highest obesity rate in the United States, fewer residents die from cancer and heart disease the two leading causes of death in the United States than in a majority of the country. The state has the 10th lowest rate of both cancer and cardiovascular deaths at 176.8 and 227.5 deaths per 100,000 people, respectively. By comparison, the national average is 189.3 cancer deaths and 260.4 heart disease deaths per 100,000 people.
The state also has a relatively small share of adults reporting frequent physical distress, a measure associated with chronic health conditions like diabetes and hypertension. Just 9.8% of adults in North Dakota report feeling in poor physical health for more than 14 days a month, the fifth smallest share of any state and far below the national rate of 12%.
13. Rhode Island
Premature death rate (per 100,000): 6,602 (13th lowest)
Adult obesity rate: 27.7% (11th lowest)
Adult smoking rate: 14.6% (15th lowest)
Median household income: $64,340 (17th highest)
Some 89.1% of adults in Rhode Island have at least a high school diploma, slightly above the 88.3% national high school attainment rate. Educational attainment is one of the strongest predictors of health outcomes. Nationwide, the share of adults with a diploma who say they are in optimal health is 27.6 percentage points higher than adults without a diploma. In Rhode Island, the difference is 31.5 percentage points.
The state has the highest immunization rates for various diseases, including human papillomavirus, the most common sexually transmitted infection; meningitis; and diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough (the Tdap vaccine). Most people in Rhode Island have health insurance, which may improve health outcomes as it allows for easier access to health care. Only 4.4% of the population lacks health insurance the fifth lowest percentage in the country and half the national figure.
Premature death rate (per 100,000): 5,665 (the lowest)
Adult obesity rate: 25.8% (5th lowest)
Adult smoking rate: 11.2% (2nd lowest)
Median household income: $75,277 (6th highest)
In California there are 5,665 premature deaths per 100,000 residents, the lowest rate in all of the United States. The cancer death rate in the Golden State is also among the lowest in the country 168.9 per 100,000 people, compared to the national rate of 189.3 per 100,000 people annually.
Californians also tend to have healthy habits. For example, only 21% of adults report no physical activity, the 10th lowest figure nationwide, and only 11.2% of adults say they are regular smokers, the second lowest rate in the country.
11. New York
Premature death rate (per 100,000): 5,830 (3rd lowest)
Adult obesity rate: 27.6% (9th lowest)
Adult smoking rate: 12.8% (6th lowest)
Median household income: $67,844 (14th highest)
New York has the third highest number of doctors per capita, which is one factor that helps it rank among the healthiest states. There are 230.7 primary care physicians per 100,000 people in the Empire State, compared to a rate of 159.6 doctors nationwide. According to the United Health Foundation, a large number of general practitioners in an area may lead to better health outcomes and reductions in health disparities across population subgroups.
New York ranks among the healthiest states also because of the amount of money it spends on public health. New York spends an average of $148 per person on public health annually, the fifth most of any state.
Colorado.(Photo: denverjeffrey / Flickr)
Premature death rate (per 100,000): 6,288 (8th lowest)
Adult obesity rate: 22.9% (the lowest)
Adult smoking rate: 14.5% (14th lowest)
Median household income: $71,953 (11th highest)
Like many of the healthiest states, Colorado residents are among the wealthiest in the nation. A typical household income is almost $72,000 a year, more than in all but 10 states. In addition to higher incomes, more than 83% of Colorado residents exercise on a regular basis, the highest percentage in the country. This high rate of physical activity likely contributes to the state's low obesity rate. Just 22.9% of adult residents are obese, the lowest rate nationwide. The low obesity rate, in turn, likely helps keep down the prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the state. There are an average of 207 cardiovascular deaths per 100,000 people in Colorado a year, the third lowest rate, and just 7% of the adult population has been diagnosed with diabetes, the smallest share nationwide.
Premature death rate (per 100,000): 6,094 (5th lowest)
Adult obesity rate: 28.7% (13th lowest)
Adult smoking rate: 12% (3rd lowest)
Median household income: $74,073 (9th highest)
People in Washington State tend to have healthy habits. Just 17.6% of adults say they do not exercise and only 12% report smoking on a regular basis, both of which are the third smallest such shares in the country.
Washington also has a relatively low preventable hospitalization rate, an indication of effective utilization of outpatient services and the overall quality of health care in the state. There are only 32.7 preventable hospitalizations per 1,000 Medicare enrollees, the fifth lowest rate in the country. Healthy lifestyle choices and access to quality health care may contribute to the state's low rate of heart disease deaths. There are just 222.4 cardiovascular deaths per 100,000 people annually, the sixth lowest rate in the United States.
8. New Jersey
Premature death rate (per 100,000): 6,329 (9th lowest)
Adult obesity rate: 25.6% (3rd lowest)
Adult smoking rate: 13.1% (7th lowest)
Median household income: $81,740 (2nd highest)
New Jersey ranks among the healthiest states because of several behavioral factors, including low rates of excessive drinking, adult obesity, and smoking. Wealth, which allows for access to higher quality health care and other components of a healthy lifestyle, may also help explain the state's high ranking. Just 9.5% of New Jersey residents live below the poverty line, the fifth lowest poverty rate of any state and well below the 13.1% national figure. The Garden State also has the second highest median household income close to $82,000 a year, or about $20,000 more than the U.S. median.
- Detox Products Market Obesity and Alcohol Addiction to Drive Growth in the Market - TMR Research Blog - March 27th, 2020
- Leptin Levels are Associated with Subclinical Cardiac Dysfunction in O | DMSO - Dove Medical Press - March 27th, 2020
- Wisconsin organization seeks to combat increasing obesity rate - The Badger Herald - March 27th, 2020
- Obesity and stigma: A woman's journey to a healthy lifestyle - The New Times - March 26th, 2020
- COVID-19 Warning: Being Overweight Or Obese Ups Your Risk Of Dying From Coronavirus - International Business Times - March 26th, 2020
- Kallyope Gains $112M to Move Gut-Brain Axis Programs to the Clinic - Xconomy - March 26th, 2020
- America's Obesity Problem, By the Numbers - Oddee - March 26th, 2020
- OBESITY MANAGEMENT MARKET TRENDS, STRONG APPLICATION SCOPE, KEY PLAYERS, GROWTH OVERVIEW AND FORECAST BY 2027 - Packaging News 24 - March 26th, 2020
- Coronavirus and obesity: industry urged to act post-crisis - FoodNavigator.com - March 25th, 2020
- Microbial signatures identified in the liver, adipose tissue and blood of people with obesity and diabetes - Gut Microbiota for Health - March 25th, 2020
- Obesity Rates Increasing in India - Star of Mysore - March 25th, 2020
- Understanding and Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity - Chiang Rai Times - March 25th, 2020
- Science Proved Drinking Coffee Helps Improve Brain Functioning and Slow Aging. Now Research Shows Coffee Can Also Help You Lose Weight and Body Fat -... - March 25th, 2020
- Disease Connection Answers May Exist within this Arizona Tribe - Michigan Medicine - March 25th, 2020
- Letter: Lets use this as an opportunity to fight obesity - Deseret News - March 25th, 2020
- Higher daily step count linked with lower all-cause mortality - National Institutes of Health - March 25th, 2020
- Your letters to the editor: Treat golf fairly like other activities - Madison.com - March 25th, 2020
- Neuropeptide Y knockdown in the dorsomedial hypothalamus improved basal and obesity-induced decrease in bone mass density. - Physician's Weekly - March 25th, 2020
- Excess Sugar Intake Increases Risk Of Death Irrespective Of Your Weight: Study - NDTV Food - March 25th, 2020
- Dr. HE Obesity Clinic: Weight loss clinic in Turkey - Treatment Abroad - March 25th, 2020
- Overcoming the influences of childhood obesity | Agriculture - Victoria Advocate - March 22nd, 2020
- Walking more linked with lower blood pressure - Medical News Today - March 22nd, 2020
- Heres Why You Should Be Drinking Plenty Of Water During The Coronavirus Lockdown - Forbes - March 22nd, 2020
- Obese Kids More Exposed to Anxiety And Depression - Read The Report - India.com - March 22nd, 2020
- Overweight and obesity among the boys of primary public schools of Baish City in Jazan Province, Saudi Arabia: A cross-sectional study. - Physician's... - March 21st, 2020
- New research links obesity in childhood to a higher risk of anxiety, depression, and early death - msnNOW - March 21st, 2020
- Technology Is Making Our Youth Stressed, Lonely, Narcissistic And Digitally Obese - Forbes - March 21st, 2020
- Excess sugar may kill you early whether you're obese or not - India New England - March 21st, 2020
- Spine Implant Industry Assessment 2020-2024 - Spike in Obese Population, Growing Number of Spinal Cord Injuries - Yahoo Finance - March 21st, 2020
- HTN-Related Mortality Particularly Dire in the Rural South - MedPage Today - March 21st, 2020
- Indian Food And Beverage Companies Showing Nutrition Commitment - Outlook India - March 21st, 2020
- Consumption of added sugar may lead to early death, but not because it causes obesity - Study - Times Now - March 21st, 2020
- With Dog Obesity Becoming More Prevalent Is A Whole Food Diet The Answer? - Forbes - March 19th, 2020
- Theres Still Only One Effective Treatment For Obesity, And Its Life-Saving - Forbes - March 19th, 2020
- What is the mechanism behind high blood pressure in obesity? - Medical News Today - March 19th, 2020
- Plans to open takeaway pizza shop in Whiston rejected over childhood obesity concerns - St Helens Reporter - March 19th, 2020
- Solving obesity: Could manipulating microbes offer an alternative to weight loss surgery? - ASU Now - March 19th, 2020
- New in bariatric surgery: Saint Anne's Hospital offers region's first robotic-assisted surgery option - Fall River Herald News - March 19th, 2020
- 16.03.2020 Exposure to ozone increases risk of obesity and diabetes - AirQualityNews - March 19th, 2020
- Coronavirus: Severely obese warned they are among people most 'at-risk' from infection - Mirror Online - March 19th, 2020
- TikTok reportedly buried posts from 'ugly, poor, obese and disabled users' - New York Post - March 19th, 2020
- From Starvation to Obesity: Charting the History of Nutrition in America - The Great Courses Daily News - March 19th, 2020
- The takeaway that wants to be healthy by stealth - The Guardian - March 19th, 2020
- The Exercise Training Modulatory Effects on the Obesity-Induced Immuno | DMSO - Dove Medical Press - March 19th, 2020
- Teen health is focus of new weight loss center at Tower Health - Reading Eagle - March 19th, 2020
- Discovered: Why obesity causes high blood pressure -- and potential ways to fix it - Newswise - March 12th, 2020
- Jeremy Clarkson Called Out For His Controversial Comments On Obesity In Column - Grand Tour Nation - March 12th, 2020
- Determinants of overweight/obesity among reproductive age group women in Ethiopia: multilevel analysis of Ethiopian demographic and health survey. -... - March 12th, 2020
- Researchers call for food education curriculum to combat childhood obesity - EducationHQ - March 12th, 2020
- Wonder Women: Rise of the Obesity Warriors - ETHealthworld.com - March 12th, 2020
- What Will Be the Most Costly Medical Conditions In 10 Years? - Managed Healthcare Executive - March 12th, 2020
- This Dietitian Wants to Burn Diet Culture to the Ground - Outside - March 12th, 2020
- Obesity: Reverse This Complex Disease By Having 2 Glasses Orange Juice Everyday - International Business Times - March 12th, 2020
- New app created to tackle child obesity - Derry Now - March 12th, 2020
- Pounds gained in mid-life could later weigh heavily on lungs - Reuters - March 12th, 2020
- Breathing dirty air could boost the risk of obesity, study - Tech Explorist - March 12th, 2020
- Can-Fite Says Preclinical Study Shows That Small Amounts Of CBD Can Help With Obesity - Benzinga - March 12th, 2020
- Loni Love Speaks Out After Backlash Over Comments On Black Womens Eating Habits - News One - March 12th, 2020
- Obesity rates on the rise in Eau Claire, statewide - WQOW TV News 18 - March 11th, 2020
- UVA Discovers Why Obesity Causes High Blood Pressure and Potential Ways to Stop It - University of Virginia - March 11th, 2020
- Free school dinners led to fall in childhood obesity rates - The Guardian - March 11th, 2020
- Miriams Big Fat Adventure review Margolyes chews the fat on obesity - The Guardian - March 11th, 2020
- Starting early is the key to easing the trajectory of childhood obesity, new study finds - The Sector - March 11th, 2020
- 10 Shameful Myths About Fat Women & Obesity You've Probably Always Believed Were True - YourTango - March 11th, 2020
- ANOTHER OPINION: Obesity rate remains long-term health concern - Goshen News - March 11th, 2020
- 'Helping no one': The role we all play in the obesity epidemic - Sydney Morning Herald - March 11th, 2020
- The Unequal Effect of Income on Risk of Overweight/Obesity of Whites and Blacks with Knee Osteoarthritis: the Osteoarthritis Initiative - DocWire News - March 11th, 2020
- Effects Of Obesity Mirrors That Of Aging - Anti Aging News - March 11th, 2020
- Donald Trump Shockingly At Risk For Coronavirus, Called Morbidly Obese Amid Health Fears - International Business Times - March 11th, 2020
- How Mason Jones Overcame Obesity To Nab SEC Co-Player of the Year Honors - Best of Arkansas Sports - March 11th, 2020
- How behavioral health is linked to obesity - WQOW TV News 18 - March 6th, 2020
- World Obesity Day - World Health Organization - March 6th, 2020
- Denver Among U.S. Cities With Lowest Obesity Rates, Study Finds - CBS Denver - March 6th, 2020
- Ending the obesity shame game - American Medical Association - March 6th, 2020
- CrossFit in China? Documentary explores growing trend all over Asia - South China Morning Post - March 6th, 2020
- article image Most overweight and obese cities in the US unveiled - Digital Journal - March 6th, 2020
- CDC: With Obesity Rising, Nearly Half of US Adults Now Obese - EthicsDaily.com - March 6th, 2020
- Opinion: Obesity should be viewed as a disease - Canada.com - March 6th, 2020
- LGBTQ Obesity: We Eat, Therefore We Die - Shepherd Express - March 6th, 2020
- Obesity rates to be tackled by council - Kent Online - March 6th, 2020