Improvements in many areas of America's health status are offset by continuing declines in others, according to the 2010 America's Health Rankings. The report is an annual assessment of the nation's health, published jointly by United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association, and Partnership for Prevention.
The nation's overall health improved one percentage point last year, but reductions in smoking, preventable hospitalizations and infectious disease were offset by continued increases in obesity, children in poverty, and lack of health insurance. The report also shows a 19% increase since the 2005 edition in the percentage of adults who had been diagnosed with diabetes.
While last year's 1% improvement in health is better than the previous decade, it falls short of the gains seen in the 1990s. From 2000: 2009, health improved just .5% per year, but in the 1990s, overall health improved 1.5% per year, suggesting that the nation is capable of achieving better health more rapidly than it currently is.
The report has Vermont topping the list of healthiest states for the fourth year in a row. Massachusetts ranks second, up from third last year, followed by New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Hawaii.
Mississippi ranks 50th, with Louisiana, Arkansas, Nevada, and Oklahoma rounding out the bottom five.
Georgia has improved the most in the past year, from 43rd to 36th, while Idaho (14th to 9th), Nebraska (16th to 11th), and South Carolina (46th to 41th) all improved by five positions.
For more information: www.unitedhealthgroup.com/newsroom/news.aspx?id=64b45557-bec5-41ad-b5fc-d407f3165781