This Is the Unhealthiest State in America

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The unhealthiest state in the union, according to statistics compiled by LetsGetChecked, a home health and wellness testing site, is West Virginia. The healthiest state by the same metrics is Utah.

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, BlueCross BlueShield, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s StateofObesity site, the study combines rates of alcoholism, smoking, obesity, diabetes, physical inactivity, hypertension, STDs, and depression to arrive at overall percentages of residents exhibiting unhealthy behavior or afflicted with serious medical conditions. (Because the overall percentage represents the sum of individual percentages, it always exceeds 100%.)

Though it didn’t rank highest for rates of alcoholism, physical inactivity, STDs, or depression, West Virginia led the field for smoking, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, which was enough to push it up to a score of 168.67%. Not far behind were Louisiana (166.68%), Kentucky (165.95%), Arkansas (165.30%), and Mississippi (164.68%).

These are serious chronic conditions that are damaging your body and they usually come with signs such as biting nails — these are other habits that could be a sign of a serious problem.

On the healthy side, with a score of only 103.25%, Utah was well ahead of the next healthiest states — Colorado (110.28%) and California (118.14%).

Considering that it has a large population of Mormons, who aren’t supposed to drink, Utah might also be expected to have had the lowest percentage of alcoholism. In fact, it was only the fourth-lowest (at 12.40%), above Alabama (12%), West Virginia (11.40%), and Tennessee (11.20%). 

The highest alcoholism rate was recorded by North Dakota (24.70%).

Other results that shouldn’t make states particularly proud: Alaska led the nation in STDs (1.39%); depression was worst in Rhode Island (6.4%); and Kentuckians apparently don’t move very much, since they had the highest physical inactivity score (32.2%). Though awareness of the importance of exercise is widespread, residents of some parts of the country are much more inclined to stay physically active than others — these American cities are getting the most exercise.