The 10 Unhealthiest States In America

obesity

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Sorry, Americans didn’t get any healthier in 2011.The past year broke a three-year trend of slowly improving health, according to the United Health Foundation. Levels of obesity, smoking and diabetes are still alarmingly high.

The report uses 23 measures to calculate America’s health, including “determinants” like public health funding and childhood poverty rates and “outcomes” like disease and death.

The northeast featured a good number of healthy states, including the number one ranking. The bottom 10, detailed here, can mostly be found south of the Mason-Dixon line.

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title=”10. West Virginia”
content=”2010 ranking: 8th unhealthiest

West Virginia’s smoking rate — unlike most other states — has stayed constant over the last 10 years, with 489,000 smoking adults statewide. Obesity levels have jumped almost 10 per cent and diabetes 4.1 per cent over the same time-span.

W. Virginia has a low level of binge drinking, but a high level of preventable hospitalizations and infectious diseases.

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permalink=”9-nevada-2″
title=”9. Nevada”
content=”2010 ranking: 4th unhealthiest

Nevada’s smoking rate dropped from 29.0 per cent to 21.3 per cent of the adults in the last 10 years, which seems to be the only positive from that time span. Diabetes increased by 1.4 per cent, as did obesity by 5.2 per cent.

Most tellingly, the percentage of children in poverty jumped from 17.9 to 23.6 per cent, and the high school graduation rate fell dramatically: 56.3 per cent of ninth graders graduated within four years, compared to 72.3 per cent 10 years ago.”
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permalink=”8-kentucky-3″
title=”8. Kentucky”
content=”2010 ranking: 7th unhealthiest

Smoking has decreased from 30.5 per cent to 24.8 per cent in the past 10 years, though there are still over a million smokers in Kentucky. Obesity also rose by 449,000 people, though diabetes decreased. The number of children in poverty, as well as the uninsured population, rose substantially.

Kentucky had a low violent crime and binge drinking rate, but reached high levels of preventable hospitalizations and cancer deaths.”
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permalink=”7-texas-4″
title=”7. Texas”
content=”2010 ranking: 11th unhealthiest

Texas dropped four spots from last year, mostly due to a increase in infectious diseases (13.1 to 18.4 cases per 100,000 people in the last year alone) and huge jumps in obesity (23.1 per cent to 31.7 per cent) and diabetes (6.2 per cent to 9.7) over the past 10 years. In the past five years, the percentage of children in poverty increased from 22.0 per cent to 26.5 per cent.

There are great health disparities among different races in Texas. The obesity rate among Hispanics was 36.0 per cent and 38.5 per cent among non-Hispanic blacks, compared to 26.7 per cent for non-Hispanic whites. The diabetes rate was 14.8 per cent for non-Hispanic blacks and 10.6 per cent for Hispanics, compared to 8.1 per cent of non-Hispanic whites.”
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permalink=”6-south-carolina-5″
title=”6. South Carolina”
content=”2010 ranking: 10th unhealthiest

South Carolina saw a huge jump in the percentage of children in poverty in the past year, from 17.6 per cent to 25.7. Obesity rose by 10 per cent and diabetes by 3.6 per cent in the past 10 years. Smoking did fall by 3.9 per cent, but there are still nearly a million smokers in South Carolina.

Statewide, there is a low prevalence of binge drinking and high immunization coverage. That is counteracted by a prevalence of obesity and a low high school graduation rate.”
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permalink=”5-alabama-6″
title=”5. Alabama”
content=”2010 ranking: 6th unhealthiest

Alabama has half a million more obese people than 10 years ago, bringing their total to 1.5 million statewide. The diabetes level has doubled in that same time span, and the uninsured population has also increased from 12.9 per cent to 15.9 per cent. But the report predicts an increase in the state’s health level over time, as public health funding has increased from $107 per person to $116 per person in the past year.

Alabama has a high immunization coverage rate, but also a high prevalence of smoking.”
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permalink=”4-arkansas-7″
title=”4. Arkansas”
content=”2010 ranking: 3rd unhealthiest

Arkansas’ slight improvement from last year may be due to the drop in children in poverty and the infant mortality rate, but there’s not much else to be happy about here. 275,000 more people are obese than 10 years ago, which has helped spike the diabetes percentage by 70 per cent. The obesity rate for non-Hispanic blacks was 41.5 per cent — and 29.8 per cent among non-Hispanic whites.

There was evidence of geographic disparity within the state, but there were still high rates of infectious disease, cancer deaths and cardiovascular deaths, and of preventable hospitalizations.”
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permalink=”3-oklahoma-8″
title=”3. Oklahoma”
content=”2010 ranking: 5th unhealthiest

Smoking and the rate of preventable deaths both fell in Oklahoma over the past 10 years, but that wasn’t enough to prevent its low health ranking. The percentage of children in poverty increased by 4.7 per cent, and obesity (19.7 per cent to 31.3 per cent of adults) and diabetes (8.9 per cent to 10.4 per cent of adults) both rose.

Oklahoma has high per capita health funding, yet there is still a limited availability of primary care physicians and a low use of prenatal care.”
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permalink=”2-louisiana-9″
title=”2. Louisiana”
content=”2010 ranking: 2nd unhealthiest (no change)

More than a million people still smoke in Louisiana despite a slight drop over the last 10 years. There are 1.4 million obese adults, 467,000 with diabetes, and the percentage of children in poverty has skyrocketed from 19.5 per cent to 30.5 per cent.

Louisiana has a high rate of prenatal care and a decent amount of public health funding. But a low high school graduation rate and a high preventable hospitalization rate keeps Louisiana’s numbers low overall.”
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permalink=”1-mississippi-10″
title=”1. Mississippi”
content=”2010 ranking: 1st unhealthiest (no change)

Once again, Mississippi is the unhealthiest state in the union. The uninsured population has risen 1.5 per cent. The obesity rate increased 3.6 per cent, bringing the number of obese people up to one million statewide. Diabetes rose 2.6 per cent. And the percentage of children in poverty rose from 16.4 per cent to 33.7 per cent. The only bit of good news: smoking fell by 0.6 per cent.

Obesity affects everyone in Mississippi, with all races above 30 per cent. Mississippi has a high infant mortality rate and a high rate of preventable hospitalizations.”
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permalink=”and-the-countrys-healthiest-state-vermont-11″
title=”And the country’s healthiest state: Vermont”
content=”2010 ranking: 1st healthiest overall (no change)

Highlights: In Vermont, the incidence of infectious diseases fell, as did the smoking rate. However, the state did see increases of children in poverty, obesity and diabetes over the last 10 years, albeit at much lower rates. This is the fifth year in the row that Vermont has claimed the top spot in the nation.

Vermont’s strengths include a high use of prenatal care, a low violent crime rate and a low rate of infectious diseases. But there is a high rate of binge drinking and moderate immunization coverage.”
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title=”The unhealthiest states all have one big issue in common”
content=”Check Out 11 Signs That You Will Be Obese >
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