How healthy is your state? A recent study looked at which American states are the healthiest, and Washington claimed the top spot on the list.
For their report on the healthiest U.S. states, medication access company NiceRx looked at various factors contributing to a state’s health, such as the rates of obesity, adult smoking and binge drinking.
The firm used data based in part from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, according to The Hill. Factors such as how many residents are looking for fitness classes and prevalence of eating fruits were also taken into account.
“(W)e wanted to find out if your health can be impacted by where you live,” NiceRx noted. “Are there some U.S. states where you are more likely to lead a healthy lifestyle than others?”
The states were given a health score out of 10 based on the combination of all the factors, and Washington state came out on top as the healthiest state with a score of 8.4. It was even described as “a particularly healthy state.” NiceRx noted that it came as “no surprise” that the state did well “across the board,” considering that it’s also one of the wealthiest states in the country.
Massachusetts followed close behind with a score of 8.36, followed by Utah, Vermont, Connecticut, Colorado, New York, New Hampshire and California, respectively.
On the flip side, the more southeastern states were at the bottom of the list, with Louisiana being the 49th on the list of healthiest states, after Mississippi (48th), Alabama (47th) and Kentucky (46th).
It is worth noting, however, that there were only 49 states on the list because New Jersey was “omitted from the results” due to a lack of data.
The results are rather similar to the findings of other rankings of states’ health. For instance, in World Population Review’s Healthiest States for 2022, Vermont claimed the top spot, followed by Massachusetts, Hawaii and Connecticut. States West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky and Louisiana were also at the bottom of the list.
NiceRx’s rankings also covered more specific factors. In terms of obesity, for instance, Colorado turned out to be the “least obese state” with a 24.2% prevalence rate. Massachusetts came in second, while Hawaii rounded up the top three.
“As another state with endless natural beauty, Hawaii is the perfect state to be active in,” NiceRx said. “This has undoubtedly aided in keeping obesity rates down, with less than a quarter of residents self-reporting as obese.”
And when it came to the most active states, Montana took the top spot with 63.1% of adults exercising at least 150 minutes every week. It was followed by Vermont, Washington and Colorado.
These specific factors also showed a bigger picture of the states’ health. For instance, Hawaii was among the top three least obese states even though it ranked 14th on the list of healthiest states. And even though Alabama was one the states at the bottom of the healthiest states list, it actually ranked second on the list of states with the fewest binge drinkers, tied with the state of Oklahoma.
“Looking after your own health is one of the best investments you can make for your future,” NiceRx explained. “From getting regular exercise to cutting down your alcohol intake, there are plenty of decisions you can make to improve your health.”