Utah ranked as the 12th best state for well-being in 2013. It also had the second lowest rate of cancer diagnoses and the lowest rate of cancer deaths of any state in America. Smoking and obesity both contribute to the development of cancer, and a cancer diagnosis can take a serious toll on the happiness and well-being of both patients and their families.
11. New Hampshire
Coming in 11th on the well-being index, the New England state of New Hampshire also had the lowest rate of poverty in all of America. A significant amount of research shows that poverty increases the risk of multiple health conditions. Poverty is most significantly associated with an increased risk for depression, asthma and obesity.
Iowa, which came in 10th place on the 2013 index of well-being, boasts the highest rate of flu vaccination among elderly adults. Considering that influenza and pneumonia caused the death of over 50,000 Americans in 2010, with the majority being above the age of 65, immunizations are a crucial part of preventing disease and potentially improving well-being.
Washington ranked 9th on the well-being index. Whether they are healthy or not, childhood habits often carry over to adulthood. If childhood obesity persists into adulthood, one is at a greater risk of developing osteoarthritis, diabetes and potentially fatal heart disease. Luckily, Washington had one of the lowest rates of overweight children in America.
At number 8 on the well-being index, Hawaii had the highest life expectancy and lowest reported rate of stress out of any state in America. These low rates may be partially explained by the fact that more Hawaiian residents tended to exercise and eat a healthy diet more than those of most other states. Such healthy habits can help lower stress and the risk of diseases such as cancer.
Colorado, which came in 7th place on the well-being index, is famous for its beautiful scenery and outdoorsy lifestyle, which might play a role in Colorado’s low rate of overweight or obese adults. Obesity is one of the leading causes of health problems in America, from depression to osteoarthritis and heart disease.
The New England state of Vermont ranked 6th on the well-being index. Vermont also held the record for the lowest rate of death from influenza and pneumonia. Being sick can have an impact on many factors related to well-being, and Vermont’s low death rate suggests that the state’s residents commonly take steps to avoid infection, such as getting a flu shot.
Montana was ranked 5th for overall well-being. Regular physical activity plays a crucial role in happiness and health, and Montana had the most active high school students of any state. Paired with a healthy diet, regular exercise is the best way to prevent obesity, which is associated with serious health issues like stroke, osteoarthritis and premature death.
Minnesota residents experienced the fewest deaths due to heart disease compared to all other states. This low rate, combined with many other factors, likely contributed to Minnesota coming in 4th place on the well-being index. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, killing nearly 600,000 people annually. Talk with your doctor about strategies to reduce your risk of developing heart complications.
The midwestern state of Nebraska ranked 3rd for well-being, partially due to the fact that it had one of the lowest rates of poverty in America. As previously mentioned, poverty is associated with host of mental and physical health problems, including depression, asthma and obesity.
2. South Dakota
South Dakota was the 2013 runner-up for highest reported well-being. Mental health plays a significant role in personal and community well-being, and South Dakota had the lowest rate of poor mental health in America. Chronic stress can affect mental health in a variety of ways, so it is important to find a healthy method to unwind after a stressful day.
1. North Dakota
Big YEAH to NORTH DAKOTA!
The 2013 Gallup-Healthways index ranked North Dakota as the best state in overall well-being. North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate of any state in America (2.7% in October 2013). Unemployment is a significant contributor to poverty rates, and a healthy job market may help reduce the risk of diseases that have been linked to poverty, such as asthma and depression.
Source: Daily Rx