2016 has been a year full of surprises, but not when it comes to the state leading “America’s Health Rankings.” For the fifth consecutive year, Hawaii has been named the healthiest state by the United Health Foundation’s annual report.
Also not a surprise was Mississippi’s 50th-place finish. The Magnolia State most recently finished last in 2014 and has never finished out of the bottom three in the annual ranking. Hawaii, on the other hand, has finished first eight times in the 27 years of the rankings – more than any other state – and has never finished out of the top six, according to the foundation’s 2016 report.
There was a surprise on the national level, but it was not a good one: The rate of cardiovascular deaths went up for the first time since “ America’s Health Rankings ” began in 1990, increasing from 250.8 per 100,000 population in 2015 to 251.7 per 100,000, the report said. In 1990, the rate was 405.1 per 100,000.
The other states ranked in the top five were well behind Hawaii’s score of 0.905 (representing the weighted standard deviation relative to the U.S. value): Massachusetts was second at 0.760, followed by Connecticut (0.747), Minnesota (0.727), and Vermont (0.709). Just above Mississippi’s score of –1.123 were Louisiana (–1.043), Arkansas (–0.834), Alabama (–0.793), and Oklahoma (–0.691), the foundation reported.
The report ranks states using 34 measures in five broad areas: behaviors, community and environment, policy, clinical care, and outcomes. Measures include drug death rate, air pollution, child immunization rate, preventable hospitalization rate, and premature death rate.
“America’s Health Rankings” is a joint effort by the United Health Foundation and the American Public Health Association. It is funded entirely by the private, not-for-profit United Health Foundation, founded by UnitedHealth Group, which operates UnitedHealthcare.