This Is the Least Healthy State in America

Study after study tries to determine the health of Americans by age, location, race and access to health care, as well as bad health circumstances like smoking, driving and overeating. Many come up with conflicting answers. There is no single gold standard for the research.

Among the most extensive studies on the subject is the United Healthcare America’s Health Rankings, which offers conclusions nationally and by state. The 2021 report is the 32nd annual analysis in the series. The researchers consider a vast amount of data. According to the methodology: “The 2021 Annual Report examines 81 measures from 30 unique data sources to understand the impact that social, economic, environmental and other factors have on health, as well as trends that reflect the nation’s changing health over time.”

Among the conditions measures were arthritis, asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, obstructive pulmonary disease, depression and diabetes. Other factors considered were alcohol consumption, sleep patterns, mental health, drug death and e-cigarette use.

Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association, commented on the study: “It is my hope that we use this data to build a public health system that can work to protect all Americans and address health inequities.”

One conclusion was among the most obvious. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major effect on the health and death rates of Americans. The effects of the disease have carried from last year into this year and will continue into 2022 as well. As part of this section on health, flu and COVID-19, vaccination rates are at the forefront.

Two other factors on which the study concentrated were ethnicity and location. The location section was broken out by state. The state rankings used the same data as the national analysis did.

Each state received a “value” based on how well or poorly it did based on the study’s yardsticks. Massachusetts ranked first with a score of 0.819. Hawaii followed at 0.801, then Connecticut (0.663) and Idaho (0.639). Many of the states at the top of the list are located in the Northeast.

The state with the worst score was Louisiana at −1.063. It was followed by Alabama (−0.857) and West Virginia (−0.834). Most of the states with the worst scores were in the South.

These are the 10 least healthy states in America:

  • Louisiana (−1.063)
  • Alabama (−0.857)
  • West Virginia (−0.834)
  • Kentucky (−0.813)
  • Arkansas (−0.798)
  • South Carolina (−0.673)
  • Oklahoma (−0.639)
  • Mississippi (−0.622)
  • Missouri (−0.581)
  • Tennessee (−0.577)

Click here to read about the 20 worst pandemics and epidemics in history.

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