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50+: Live Better, Longer

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Report: Vermont Is Healthiest State

Louisiana Is Last on the 'America's Health Rankings 2008' List
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Dec. 3, 2008 -- Vermont is the healthiest state and Louisiana the unhealthiest, according to the "America's Health Rankings 2008" list.

The list is a collaboration of the United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association, and the Partnership for Prevention.

Here is the full list of the state rankings, from healthiest to least healthy:

  1. Vermont
  2. Hawaii
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Minnesota
  5. Utah
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Connecticut
  8. Idaho
  9. Maine
  10. Washington
  11. Rhode Island
  12. North Dakota
  13. Nebraska
  14. Wyoming
  15. Iowa
  16. Oregon
  17. Wisconsin
  18. New Jersey
  19. Colorado
  20. Virginia
  21. South Dakota
  22. Kansas
  23. Montana
  24. California
  25. New York
  26. Maryland
  27. Michigan
  28. Pennsylvania
  29. New Mexico
  30. Alaska
  31. Illinois
  32. Ohio
  33. Arizona
  34. Indiana
  35. Delaware
  36. North Carolina
  37. Kentucky
  38. Missouri
  39. West Virginia
  40. Alabama
  41. Georgia
  42. Nevada
  43. Arkansas
  44. Oklahoma
  45. Florida
  46. Texas
  47. Tennessee
  48. South Carolina
  49. Mississippi
  50. Louisiana

Vermont was also the top-ranked state in 2007. During the past year, the states showing the biggest improvement in their overall health score were Arkansas, New Mexico, and Kentucky; Texas and Montana showed the least improvement.

Americans' health on a national level didn't improve or worsen, holding steady for the past four years.The nation's biggest challenges include obesity, growing numbers of people without health insurance, and the persistence of risky behaviors such as tobacco use, according to the study.

The rankings are based on four components:

  • Personal behaviors including smoking, binge drinking, and obesity.
  • Community and environmental factors such as rates of high school graduation, violent crime, occupational fatalities, and infectious disease.
  • Public and health policy factors such as immunization coverage, lack of health insurance, and public health funding.
  • Clinical care factors, such as adequacy of prenatal care, preventable hospitalizations, and primary care physicians.

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