How Unhealthy Is Your State?


If you live in Mississippi, you may want to think about moving, or at least going on some long jogs.

A recent study put out by the United Health Foundation ranked all 50 states in terms of healthiness, and found Mississippi to be the unhealthiest state in the nation, followed by Oklahoma. Vermont, on the other hand, was the healthiest state.

One particularly interesting result in the study is that eight of the ten least healthy states were in the south, while all six states in New England were ranked in the top 10.

So how did the process work?

The annual study takes in to account a wide range of health factors, including smoking rates, obesity, air pollution and the percentage of children who get vaccinated. The report found that people who live in the south are more likely to be obese or to be smokers.

This is the ninth consecutive year that Mississippi came in dead last. According to USA Today, “Mississippi is singled out for high rates of obesity, infant mortality and death from cardiovascular disease.” Vermont, on the other hand, has been on top now for three years, thanks to better than average smoking rates and obesity.

Still, even some of the unhealthiest states found cause for celebration from the results.

Tennessee has been ranked in the bottom 5 since 2003, but this year, the state managed to climb out of the hole, snagging the coveted sixth worst state in the nation spot.

"We still have work to do," the state’s Health Commissioner said, according to "But if you look at where we are in the short period of time, we have taken focused approaches and worked with partners from one end of the state to the other and have made some good investments."

Tennessee may not be the most fit state, but they certainly have a healthy dose of optimism. And optimism is something that states like Nevada could use right now. The state was one of the only two states in bottom ten not from the south, not to mention the fact that it ranked second to last on our Happiness Index. Nevada has had a tough year.

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