Special Report

The States With the Least Heart Disease

Hristina Byrnes, Grant Suneson

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5. New Hampshire
> Adults with cardiovascular disease: 6.0%
> Adults who’ve had heart attack: 3.1% (9th lowest)
> Population: 1,342,795

Only 6% of New Hampshire adults have heart disease, one of the lowest shares of any state. This may be partly explained by the residents’ healthy habits, such as exercising regularly. Socioeconomic factors, which research has shown are related to health, may play a role, too. The state has the lowest poverty rate of any state and one of the largest shares of household with an estimated annual income of more than $200,000. Wealthy people are more likely to have better access to medical care, eat a healthy diet, be more active, and experience less stress.

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4. Utah
> Adults with cardiovascular disease: 5.8%
> Adults who’ve had heart attack: 3.1% (9th lowest)
> Population: 3,101,833

Utah adults are among the healthiest in the nation. The state has has by far the lowest smoking rate of any state at 8.9% — the next lowest smoking rate is in California with an 11.0% of adults smoking. Utah adults are also the least likely to binge drink and the most likely to eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables in their diet. These healthy lifestyle choices have likely helped make Utah one of just four states with a cardiovascular disease rate among adults of less than 6%.

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3. Minnesota
> Adults with cardiovascular disease: 5.8%
> Adults who’ve had heart attack: 3.1% (9th lowest)
> Population: 5,576,606

Minnesota is among the 10 states with the highest share of healthy-weight adult residents. Maintaining a healthy body mass index is key to preventing cardiovascular disease. Excess fat can increase the risk of diabetes and hypertension, both of which can contribute to the development of heart disease. The state has one the smallest shares of people who do not participate in physical activities. Regular exercises can also help prevent heart disease.

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2. Colorado
> Adults with cardiovascular disease: 5.7%
> Adults who’ve had heart attack: 3.0% (5th lowest)
> Population: 5,607,154

Coloradans are some of the most active Americans, with 58.7% of adults reporting they get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. Colorado residents are the most likely to be in good physical condition, as 39.0% of adults in the state have a normal BMI, as opposed to being underweight, overweight, or obese — all conditions that can put strain on a person’s heart. Along with the low cardiovascular disease rate among state adults, Colorado also has the lowest rate of adults with coronary heart disease and the lowest share of adults who have suffered a heart attack.

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1. Hawaii
> Adults with cardiovascular disease: 5.4%
> Adults who’ve had heart attack: 2.5% (the lowest)
> Population: 1,427,538

Hawaii has the lowest share of adults living with cardiovascular disease in the United States. The state has one of the lowest shares of adults with high cholesterol as well as one of the lowest smoking, inactivity, and obesity rates among adults of any states. All these are considered high risk factors for developing heart disease and may help explain why the state has a nation-leading low share of the disease among adults. The fact that the state also has some of the highest numbers of primary doctors and dentists per 100,000 people may also help explain the Aloha State’s low rate of heart disease and also why Hawaii is the state where people live the longest.

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