Being the healthiest states does not necessarily mean that they are the richest states. Find out where your state stands!
Health and happiness are usually terms reserved for individuals, yet there is no denying that location can play a role in these traits. After aggregating hundreds of thousands of these personal measurements, researchers have compiled a list that ranks general well-being by state. Here’s a list of the happiest and healthiest states.
Every year, Gallup and Healthways combine forces to create a well-being index for the US. While health is fairly objective, happiness is harder to quantify. The index is based on 6 parameters: life evaluation (present/anticipated situation), emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behavior and basic access (feeling safe, satisfied and optimistic within a community).
Located on the west coast, the state of Oregon had the 25th highest well-being in 2013. With a residential population of 3,863,000, Oregon had the second highest percentage of adults who exercise. Regular exercise provides a host of benefits, including an improved mood and a lower risk of osteoarthritis and cancer.
The state of Virginia ranked 24th on the 2013 Gallup-Healthways well-being index. Virginia also ranked 4th for overall educational attainment. Numerous studies underline the economic benefits of education, but there may also be health implications. One study found that the death rate of high school dropouts was more than twice that of those with some college education.
23. New Jersey
Coming in 23rd on the well-being index, New Jersey is home to over 8,700,000 people. The state had the 4th lowest percentage of adults who reported a disability, which has significant personal and public implications. Disability from conditions like osteoarthritis is associated with an increased risk of depression and obesity.
The state of Illinois placed 22nd in the 2013 Gallup-Healthways well-being index. With almost 13 million residents, Illinois had the 4th lowest rate of suicide out of all US states, which may have played a role in the health and wellness rating. Common risk factors for suicide include mental issues such as depression, substance abuse and family violence.
Coming in as 21st in well-being, the Lone Star State also ranked 2nd in geographical area and 2nd in population. It also had the second highest gross state product in the US. Additionally, 8 out of the 15 fastest-growing large cities are in Texas. Employment opportunities and community might have played a role in Texas’s health and well-being ranking.
The midwestern state of Kansas ranked 20th on the well-being index. It was the 5th best state for access to children’s mental health care, which is crucial for helping those with conditions like depression. A quarter of Americans have inadequate access to mental health services, and almost half of those with psychological disorders go without treatment.
Located in the southwestern region of the US, Arizona was 19th on the well-being index. Arizona had the lowest rate of invasive cancer per 100,000 people out of all states in America. Maintaining a healthy diet, weight and exercise regime, as well as avoiding tobacco, all play a significant role in reducing cancer risk.
The state of Maryland came in 18th on the index. Despite its small size, Maryland has almost 6 million residents and boasts the highest median income and lowest rate of mental illness in all of America. Both of these economic and mental health factors can play a role in an individual’s sense of happiness and well-being.
Home of Hollywood and covering much of America’s west coast, California ranked 17th on the well-being index. The state also had the second lowest rate of adult smokers in all of America, which is significant considering that smoking has been linked with a variety of conditions, including cancer and osteoarthritis.
At 16th-place, Alaska is the largest state and had the lowest rate of diabetes in America. Diabetes has significant health consequences, including increasing the risk for Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, cancer and bladder issues such as overactive bladder (OAB).
The northernmost state in New England, Maine, ranked 15th on the well-being index. The health of children is a key factor in family and community well-being, and Maine has one of the lowest rates of child mortality. Death from influenza and cancer have tended to be higher in older adults, but these two conditions also contribute to child mortality.
Wisconsin ranked 14th on the 2013 well-being index due in part to the fact that the state has one of the highest rates of child immunizations in the US. Childhood immunizations are a crucial aspect of healthcare, as diseases like hepatitis, influenza and polio disabled and killed millions of American children before the creation of certain vaccines.
Massachusetts held the 13th spot on the well-being index and boasted the highest rate of residents living with health insurance (96 percent). Health insurance is crucial for access to non-emergency medical care, and research has shown that uninsured Americans may be less likely to get screened for cancer and less likely to survive a cancer diagnosis.
Wonder which states are on top? Check out ranks 12-1, coming soon!
Source: Daily Rx