Remaining healthy is critical to overall quality of life. While the deterioration that comes with age is unavoidable — as are certain chronic diseases for many — there are several measures people can take to increase their odds of living a long and healthy life. These include making regular doctor visits, sticking to a nutritious and well-balanced diet, regularly exercising, and refraining from harmful habits like smoking and excessive drinking.
While these components of a healthy lifestyle are hardly breaking news, there are large populations across the country that for different reasons, fail to adhere to them. And the consequences are evident among these populations, and often serious.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on behaviors and outcomes in over 3,000 U.S. counties and county equivalents to identify the least healthy county in every state.
The overall health of a population is closely linked to certain social and economic conditions, and unfortunately, access to health care as well as healthy diets and lifestyles appear to be out of reach for many low-income Americans. In 49 of the 50 counties on this list, the poverty rate exceeds the statewide poverty rate and many rank as the poorest county in the state. Not only can low income Americans afford fewer healthy options, but poverty itself is also associated with stress that can undermine both physical and mental health.
A high uninsured rate is another common feature in the counties on this list. Americans without health insurance are less likely to make regular doctor visits and receive preventative care. Of the 50 counties on this list 48 have a higher uninsured rate than their home state.