Special Report

America's Most (and Least) Healthy States

7. New Hampshire
> Pct. obese: 26.7% (16th lowest)
> Cardiovascular deaths per 100,000: 213.8 (7th lowest)
> Physicians per 100,000: 135.7 (10th highest)
> Pct. visiting dentist in 2012: 64.9 (11th highest)

Despite relatively low health funding from the state, the infant mortality rate of 4.5 deaths per 1,000 live births in New Hampshire was among the lowest in the nation last year. There were less than 14 teen pregnancies per 1,000 females in New Hampshire, the lowest rate and less than half the national figure. Teen pregnancies tend to be unwanted and can have health consequences to mother and baby. Additionally, nearly three-quarters of teenagers in the state had been vaccinated as of 2013, one of the highest immunization rates reviewed. Infectious diseases such as chlamydia were less likely in New Hampshire than in the vast majority of states. Residents also live in some of the safest neighborhoods in the country. There were 188 violent crimes per 100,000 New Hampshire residents last year, less than half the national rate and nearly the lowest.

6. Minnesota
> Pct. obese: 25.5% (10th lowest)
> Cardiovascular deaths per 100,000: 184.7 (the lowest)
> Physicians per 100,000: 145.2 (7th highest)
> Pct. visiting dentist in 2012: 62.4 (17th highest)

Minnesota had the lowest rate of cardiovascular deaths in the nation, at just 184.7 per 100,000 people. In all, just 5,358 years of life were lost for every 100,000 people due to premature deaths, defined as deaths that occur before age 75. By contrast, almost 7,000 years of life were lost for every 100,000 people nationwide. The state’s high-quality clinical care likely contributed to favorable health outcomes. Few states had a higher concentration of primary care physicians or fewer preventable hospitalizations relative to the number of Medicare beneficiaries. Binge drinking is one of the few metrics in which the state fared poorly. Twenty-one percent of the state’s adult population binge drinks, fifth worst in the nation.

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5. Utah
> Pct. obese: 24.1% (4th lowest)
> Cardiovascular deaths per 100,000: 212.2 (6th lowest)
> Physicians per 100,000: 80.8 (7th lowest)
> Pct. visiting dentist in 2012: 67.3 (13th highest)

While high levels of binge drinking are a weakness in many of the nation’s healthiest states, just 12.3% of Utah adults reported binge drinking in the previous month, nearly the lowest rate. Also, slightly more than 10% of Utah residents were smokers, the lowest rate nationwide. And nearly 80% of people exercised regularly, one of the highest figures nationwide. With a median household income of nearly $63,000 last year, Utah residents were among the nation’s wealthiest. High incomes help Utah households afford healthier food, medicine, and medical care. Income was also more evenly distributed in Utah than in the vast majority of states. As in the majority of healthy states, Utah residents were also in relatively good physical health. The state had the nation’s lowest concentration of deaths from cancer as well as the second lowest rate of adults with diabetes.

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