The United States is one of the richest and most developed countries in the world, and its spending on health care is by far the largest in the world. But, as it turns out, money doesn’t always buy health. While there has been a significant decline in the mortality rate over the last few decades, and the smoking rate is at its lowest ever, the U.S. still struggles with high incidence of chronic health conditions.
24/7 Tempo examined the 20 healthiest states in America from the United Health Foundation’s 2019 Health Rankings report. It includes such factors as healthy behaviors, quality of health care, health policy, the presence of diseases, and deaths from illnesses across the nation.
Health varies considerably between states. The prevalence of diabetes has increased dramatically in the United States in recent years, going from 9.5% in 2012 to 10.9% in 2018. However, in the 20 healthiest states in the country, the rates of diabetes are less than the national rate of nearly 11% of adults. Also since 2012, obesity levels have increased from 27.8% to 30.9% of adults. Only four of the 20 healthiest states in America have a higher adult obesity rate than the national.
Healthy behaviors and lifestyles are also major contributors to good health. Just over 75% of Americans report regular physical activity. In only two of the 20 healthiest states, fewer people exercise regularly. But working out is just one way people can stay healthy. Nutrition plays a major, if not a more important, role — and here are 29 healthy habits that will change your life.
The cost of poor health can be measured in years of life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) track premature deaths, as measured by the number of years lost when people do not live to age 75. In 2019, the CDC estimated that nearly 7,500 years were lost for every 100,000 Americans. This figure was lower in all of the 20 healthiest states.
Money is also a factor in determining health. The healthiest states are often among the nation’s wealthiest, and only two of the 20 healthiest states have a median household income under the national median in 2018. Not everybody has a job that pays six figures, but there are ways to make some extra money — these are 18 hobbies you can actually make money on.