Report: California Ranked 17th Healthiest State in the U.S.
Details of Report
The annual America's Health Rankings report was released by the United Health Foundation, in conjunction with the American Public Health Association and the Partnership for Prevention (America's Health Rankings release, 12/10).
The report uses data from federal agencies and associations to assess each state's performance on 27 health measures, including:
- Cancer-related deaths;
- Immunization rates;
- Infectious diseases;
- Public health funding;
- Tobacco use; and
- Other metrics.
Overall, the report found that the healthiest state is Hawaii and that the unhealthiest state is Mississippi.
According to the report, U.S. residents are more sedentary than ever before, which is leading to greater prevalence of chronic health conditions, such as obesity and diabetes. Specifically, the report found that:
- 29.4% of adults are obese, a 7% increase from 2013;
- 23.5% of all residents are considered sedentary, up by 3% from 2013; and
- 9.6% of adults have diabetes, more than double the number from 20 years ago.
However, U.S. residents have improved on several health metrics since last year's report. For instance, the report found a:
- 3% decline in smoking rates among adults;
- 4% decrease in infant mortality; and
- 5% increase in immunization coverage among adolescents (America's Health Rankings report, 12/10).
According to the data, California dropped one spot compared with last year, from 16th to 17th.
The report found that California had a low prevalence of obesity, physical inactivity and smoking. Specifically, the report found that:
- 24.1% of California's population is obese, down from 25% in 2013; and
- 12.5% of residents smoke, down slightly from 12.6% last year.
However, the report also found that over the last two years:
- The rate of diabetes increased by 15% from 8.9% to 10.2% of adults in the state; and
- The rate of disparity in health status increased by 10%, from a 35.1% difference between residents with and without a high school education last year to a 38.6% difference this year.
The reported highlighted several challenges that California faces to improving its health ranking, including:
- High levels of air pollution; and
- A moderate rate of violent crime (California findings, 12/10).