The States With the Least Heart Disease

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15. Vermont
> Adults with cardiovascular disease: 6.4%
> Adults who’ve had heart attack: 3.6% (25th highest)
> Population: 623,657

Vermont has one of the smallest shares of obese adults and people who do not exercise. The adult smoking rate is in line with the national average. But the state has the eighth highest excessive drinking rate in the country, which may be offsetting healthy habits that are common among residents. More than one in five adults drink too much, compared to a national excessive drinking rate of 18.0%. Alcohol increases the risk of heart disease because it has been linked to irregular heart beat, raising blood pressure, and increased level of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood.

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14. Iowa
> Adults with cardiovascular disease: 6.4%
> Adults who’ve had heart attack: 3.6% (25th highest)
> Population: 3,145,711

With more than 36% of state adults considered obese, Iowa is the only state to have both one of the five highest obesity rates in the country as well as a lower share of adults with a major cardiovascular disease than the national share. Obesity is a risk factor of heart disease. Iowa adults also have a relatively low rate of high blood pressure, at 27.2% compared to the 29.1% U.S. rate. Iowans typically feel well, reporting a U.S.-low 2.9 physically unhealthy days per month.

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13. Oregon
> Adults with cardiovascular disease: 6.4%
> Adults who’ve had heart attack: 3.0% (5th lowest)
> Population: 4,142,776

About one in three adults in Oregon have a high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease because the arteries become narrow due to the buildup of fat. The state, however, also has one of the largest shares of adults with high blood pressure taking medication for hypertension, at 63.6% compared to a national share of 61.0%. The state has the third highest share of adults who eat at least the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables a week. A healthy diet is key to preventing cardiovascular disease. Another key factor that may explain the low heart disease rate among Oregon’s adults is physical activity. The state has the second highest share of adults who exercise regularly.

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12. Idaho
> Adults with cardiovascular disease: 6.3%
> Adults who’ve had heart attack: 3.3% (14th lowest)
> Population: 1,716,943

In addition to a relatively low rate of cardiovascular disease, Idaho adults also have the fifth lowest incidence of coronary heart disease at just 2.7%. This is likely due in part to the lower prevalence of unhealthy behaviors among state adults. Most adults reported they did not have a single drink of alcohol within the last month, and the state has some of the lowest adult smoking rates in the nation. Alcohol and smoking increase the risk of heart disease.

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11. Wisconsin
> Adults with cardiovascular disease: 6.3%
> Adults who’ve had heart attack: 3.5% (23rd lowest)
> Population: 5,795,483

Factors that normally lead to healthy outcomes, such as normal cholesterol levels, eating a healthy diet, and exercising on regular basis, are common among Wisconsin’s adult population. The state, however, also has the second highest adult binge drinking rate of all states. Binge drinking increases the risk of developing heart disease. The state has the seventh highest share of insured adults, which also may contribute to the lower prevalence of heart disease as health coverage may encourage people to go for regular checkups.