Report: California Ranked 16th Healthiest State in the U.S.
California is the 16th healthiest state in the U.S., according to a report released Thursday by the United Health Foundation and the American Public Health Association, USA Today reports (O'Donnell/Ungar, USA Today, 12/10).
The annual report uses data from federal agencies and other groups to assess each state's performance on 27 core health measures, including tobacco use, infectious diseases, uninsured rates, public health funding, cancer and the number of primary care physicians.
According to the report, the five healthiest states are:
1. Hawaii, which ranked first for the fourth straight year2. Vermont
5. New Hampshire
Meanwhile, the five unhealthiest states are:
47. West Virginia
North Carolina showed the largest improvement, rising from 37th in 2014 to 31stthis year.
According to the report, U.S. residents overall are smoking less and vaccinating their children more frequently. However, drug-related deaths, obesity and childhood poverty all increased in 2015 (America's Health Rankings report, 12/10).
California's ranking as the 16th healthiest state is a slight improvement from last year's report, when it ranked 17th in the U.S. (California Healthline, 12/10/14).
California ranked among the top five states for:
- Lowest infant mortality rates;
- Lowest smoking rates;
- Lowest obesity rates;
- Lowest occupational fatality rates;
- Highest rate of male adolescent human papillomavirus vaccinations.
The report also ranked California:
- 6th for cancer deaths;
- 8th for female adolescent HPV vaccination rates;
- 12th for drug-related deaths;
- 16th for pertussis, or whooping cough;
- 18th for meningococcal vaccinations;
- 21st for physical inactivity;
- 22nd for excessive drinking;
- 22nd for poor mental health days;
- 23rd for cardiovascular deaths;
- 23rd for salmonella infections;
- 24th for adolescent tetanus and diphtheria vaccinations;
- 28th for chlamydia rates;
- 29th for diabetes rates; and
- 31st for poor physical health days.
Meanwhile, California had the highest rate in the country for air pollution, at 12.5%, compared with 9.5% nationally.
California also ranked worst in the U.S. for disparities in health statuses, calculated as the difference in the percentage of adults with a high school degree versus those without one who reported being in very good or excellent health (America's Health Rankings report, 12/10).
Reed Tuckson, external senior medical adviser to UHF, in a release said one key lesson from the report is that prevention is the only sustainable way to meet the nation's largest public-health challenges. "We couldn't possibly afford all the medical care required to treat all these conditions," he explained. "If we don't turn off the spigot of preventable illness, we will bankrupt Medicare, Medicaid and our private insurance systems" (USA Today, 12/10).
He added, "This report is a call to action ... We want to ensure everybody -- no matter what state they call home -- is empowered to make healthy decisions for themselves, their families and their communities" (America's Health Rankings release, 12/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.