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Report: We’re living longer, less healthy lives

NEED TO KNOW
  • Americans are living longer lives -- they’re also getting more chronic illnesses
  • CDC: Life expectancy is now 78.5 years in the U.S
  • Vermont tops the list as healthiest state; Mississippi and Louisiana tie for unhealthiest

It’s that time of year again when the United Health Foundation releases its health rankings for each U.S. state.

It’s no surprise that the organization notes that obesity and diabetes continue to be at epidemic levels in a number of areas. It also highlights high blood pressure and sedentary behavior at troubling rates.

UHF uses data from a number of difference sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association, Census Bureau, and Department of Education. Rates of exercise, crime, diseases, substance abuse, immunization accessibility, and premature birth rates are among the 24 health measures they look at to come up with the rankings.

Although Americans are living longer lives, they’re also sicker with chronic illnesses, USA Today said of the report.  The thing is, with the advancement of medical science, more people are able to live with conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.

Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association said that states ranking poorly in many areas need to take “lessons from things they do well and apply them more vigorously to the things they are not doing well," the paper notes.

The CDC reports that life expectancy is now 78.5 years in the U.S. They also say that premature deaths, cancer deaths and deaths from cardiovascular disease are all down.

Here’s the official list -- with Vermont ranking as the healthiest state and Mississippi and Louisiana tying for the unhealthiest.

1. Vermont

2. Hawaii

3. New Hampshire

4. Massachusetts

5. Minnesota

6. Connecticut

7. Utah

8. New Jersey

9. Maine

10. Rhode Island

11. Colorado

11. North Dakota (tied)

13. Oregon

13. Washington (tied)

15. Nebraska

16. Wisconsin

17. Idaho

18. New York

19. Maryland

20. Iowa

21. Virginia

22. California

23. Wyoming

24. Kansas

25. Arizona

26. Pennsylvania

27. South Dakota

28. Alaska

29. Montana

30. Illinois

31. Delaware

32. New Mexico

33. North Carolina

34. Florida

35. Ohio

36. Georgia

37. Michigan

38. Nevada

39. Tennessee

40. Texas

41. Indiana

42. Missouri

43. Oklahoma

44. Kentucky

45. Alabama

46. South Carolina

47. West Virginia

48. Arkansas

49. Louisiana

49. Mississippi (tied)

For additional details on this report, click here.

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