MA is the Healthiest State in the Nation

UNITED HEALTH FOUNDATION

Hawaii, Vermont, Utah and CT rounded out the top five.

"We don't have a system with everybody in", said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, which was not involved in the new report. They face excessive health problems in accordance with the report, involving an excessive generality of smoking, weight issues and children in destitution.

Florida and Utah experienced the largest improvements in the rankings since past year, rising four places each to number 32 and number 4, respectively.

The Bay State dethroned Hawaii, which held the top spot for the past five years, in the foundation's 28th annual report.

In New Hampshire over the past five years, there has been a 118 percent increase in drug deaths, while in Rhode Island, there has been a 56 percent increase.

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Among other categories in which MA was ranked first were immunizations of children ages 19 to 35 months; immunization of adolescents ages 13 to 17 years with Tdap vaccine, a combination vaccine that protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough); percentage of the population that is uninsured; number of dentists per 100,000 people; and number of mental-health providers per 100,000 people.

However, despite being the overall healthiest state in the country, the survey found that MA, along with its New England neighbors New Hampshire and Rhode Island, had experienced large increases in drug death rates, owing much in part to the ongoing opioid epidemic.

Arizona saw improvement in other categories, however, as preventable hospitalizations decreased 32 percent since 2016, according to Medicare statistics. In the past two years, the percentage of children living in poverty decreased by 38 percent, from 17.6 percent to 11 percent of children. The report also states the state has the lowest rate of diabetes.

MS ranked 50th for the least healthy state, according to the survey.

One of Minnesota's neighboring states, North Dakota, experienced the largest drop in the rankings, falling seven places to number 18.

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MA did rank in the bottom 10 for drug deaths, however, with 19.8 drug deaths per 100,000 people. The southwestern state improved its standing by reducing air pollution and increasing immunization among children.

"This year's findings demonstrate that our focus on improving health outcomes is making a real difference in the lives of MA families and communities", said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders.

Yet even the healthiest states were not immune to the opioid crisis or negative effects of rising obesity and cardiovascular risks across the nation.

"Increases in cardiovascular deaths and drug overdoses can be reversed, but it will take concerted action by government, health systems, communities and individuals", Frieden, now president and CEO of the group Resolve to Save Lives, wrote in an email.

Disparities include the findings that there are 547 mental health professionals per 100,000 in MA, compared with only 85 per 100,000 in Alabama, and rates of vaccination with the full HPV vaccine series among girls ranged from 31% in SC to 73% in Rhode Island.

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