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:
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- North Dakota
- New Jersey
- South Dakota
- New York
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
- South Carolina
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.