America’s Health Rankings® presents its 28th Annual Report, providing new insights to the longest-running assessment of the nation’s health on a state-by-state basis. The 2017 report looks at 35 measures covering behaviors, community and environment, policy, clinical care and outcomes data. The report also serves as a benchmark for states – and the nation – to measure progress, identify emerging trends and drive action for improving public health.
Across the U.S., the premature death rate (the number of years of potential life lost before age 75) increased for the third straight year, reaching 7,214 years lost before age 75 per 100,000 population. This recent rise is concerning, particularly after the
premature death rate declined dramatically by 20 percent from 1990 to 2015.
2017 also saw increases in the rates of cardiovascular and drug deaths nationwide. Cardiovascular deaths increased in the U.S. for the second consecutive year. The rate among blacks is significantly higher than the rate among whites, Hispanics, Asians
and American Indians/Alaska Natives. Drug deaths continued on an upward trend, increasing by 7 percent to the highest level recorded by America’s Health Rankings (15.0 deaths per 100,000 population) and were particularly high among whites
This year, Massachusetts ranks as the healthiest state, while Hawaii — which has held the top spot for the past five years — drops to second. Vermont (No. 3), Utah (No. 4) and Connecticut (No. 5) round out the top five states for overall health.
For the second year in a row, Mississippi (No. 50) has the greatest opportunity for improvement in overall health. Louisiana (No. 49), Arkansas (No. 48) and Alabama (No. 47) maintained their rankings from last year, while West Virginia fell three places (No. 46) to round out the five states with the most significant areas of opportunity for improvement in health and well-being.