From Our 2011 Archives
America's Health Report Card: Needs Improvement
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Vermont Named Healthiest State; Mississippi Least Healthy
By Kathleen Doheny
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD
Dec. 6, 2011 -- Americans' health report card is out, and there's plenty of room for improvement. That's especially true if you live in Mississippi and less true if you call Vermont home.
For the fifth year in a row, Vermont earned the title of the healthiest state in the nation, according to the United Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization that issues the annual rankings. Mississippi was last.
Overall, the picture is not good. Obesity, diabetes, and children living in poverty are all on the rise in the U.S. That bad news more than offset improvements such as fewer smokers and fewer deaths from heart disease.
The foundation evaluated 23 different measures to assess health. Overall, the country's health did not improve in the last year, despite the growing number of people who have quit smoking. For every person who quit smoking last year, one person became obese.
Grading the States
State by state, health status varies widely. The top five:
The bottom five, with the worst first:
The Good and Bad of 2011
A quick look at the statistics:
Meanwhile, the United Health Foundation is launching a "Take Action for Change" campaign on its Facebook page. For every person who pledges an act of health, the foundation will donate $.25 to a nonprofit organization involved in improving the nation's health. The maximum donation will be $50,000.
Click here to see how all the states stacked up on the foundation's 2011 report card.
SOURCE: United Health Foundation, America's Health Rankings, Dec. 6, 2011.