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Hawai‘i Ranks as Healthiest State for Fifth Year

December 15, 2016, 7:42 AM HST
* Updated December 15, 7:47 AM
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Hawai‘i ranks as the healthiest state in the U.S. in 2016 for the fifth straight year, followed by Massachusetts, Connecticut, Minnesota and Vermont, according to a report by the United Health Foundation.

Mississippi dropped from 49th to 50th this year, replacing Louisiana. Arkansas (48), Alabama (47) and Oklahoma (46) round out the states with greatest opportunities for improvement.

Overall across the country, the 2016 UHF’s annual report revealed a rise in cardiovascular and drug deaths, and a high prevalence of obesity among the adult population.

The nation’s health is seeing concerning upticks in key health indicators that threaten to offset years of public health successes, according to the key findings in United Health Foundation’s 27th America’s Health Rankings Annual Report.

Through an analysis of 34 measures of behaviors, community and environment, policies and clinical care data, the annual report provides a holistic view of the nation’s health.

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The report finds that the US has made notable long-term improvements across key health indicators. There were notable long-term improvements in reducing the prevalence of smoking, rate of preventable hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries, and percentage of uninsured population.

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Improvements include:

  • A reduction in the prevalence of smoking among adults. Since 1990, smoking among adults has decreased by 41 percent – including a 17% decrease in the last four years.
  • Preventable hospitalizations have declined by 35% over the past decade, and achieved a 13% decline in the past year alone.
  • In the past five years, the rate of uninsured Americans declined by 35%—from 16.2% to 10.6%, which is the lowest point in the report’s 27-year history.

While Americans have made substantial health gains in those key areas, the report highlights serious challenges for the country that are eroding these hard-won gains.

Challenges include:

  • For the first time in the 27-year history of the report, the cardiovascular death rate has increased in the past year (from 250.8 to 251.7 deaths per 100,000).
  • The rate of drug deaths has increased by 9% over the past five years, and increased by 4 percent in just the past year.
  • The premature death rate has increased for the second consecutive year—suggesting a troubling trend.
  • Since the first report was released in 1990, the prevalence of obesity among adults has increased by an astounding 157%.
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“We have made important strides across the country against public health challenges; however, we are at a crossroads between a healthier future as a nation and a future in which troubling public health measurements become increasingly common,” said Reed Tuckson, M.D., external senior medical adviser to UHF. “Of particular concern is the first-time rise in cardiovascular deaths, despite all the medical advances in this area. This data provides a road map for states, local communities and the public health sector to work together to get ahead of the challenges coming.”

America’s Health Rankings and the 27th Annual Report
America’s Health Rankings Annual Report is the longest-running annual assessment of the nation’s health on a state-by-state basis. For 27 years, the report has analyzed a comprehensive set of behaviors, community and environmental conditions, policies, clinical care and outcomes data to provide a holistic view of the health of the nation.

The longevity of the report and wealth of credible data available for analysis provide a unique opportunity to track both short- and long-term successes and identify current and emerging challenges to the nation’s health.

UHF has recently expanded its reporting series to include a number of spotlight reports focused on important markers of the nation’s health, including prevention and the impacts of unhealthy behaviors, and population reports on the health of seniors, of women and children and of those who have served.

For more information, visit www.americashealthrankings.org.

United Health Foundation
Through collaboration with community partners, grants and outreach efforts, UHF works to improve our health system, build a diverse and dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being of local communities. UHF was established by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation dedicated to improving health and health care. To date, United Health Foundation has committed nearly $315 million to programs and communities around the world.

Learn more online

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