National News

Dec 7, 2010 7:39 PM by Erika Edwards, KSBY News

Americans are getting healthier, new state-by-state health rankings

Americans are getting healthier. But, we have a lot way to go to reverse the obesity trend.

That's according to a new report out Tuesday by the United Health Foundation. It outlines state-by-state health rankings. Vermont came out on top as the number one healthiest state. California is ranked number 26. The study ranks our state number two for prevalence of smoking, and we rank 16th in the country for prevalence of obesity.

Nationally, the annual check-up shows we've made some slight health strides. "We are finally after many years of stagnation starting to see some improvement in the health of the nation," said Dr. Reed Tuckson of the United Health Foundation. The new report finds smoking is at its lowest level in years. It's down to 18 percent from a high of nearly 30 percent in 1990.

But that good news is nearly extinguished by other statistics. "27 percent of the American people are obese. That's a 132 percent increase since 1990 alone, which is extraordinary," said Dr. Tuckson.

The report calls on all of us to step up, as individuals and communities. "{Meaning} community organizations, philanthropy, civic associations, volunteerism, we've got to bring those resources to bear. If we put this all on the back of government, it just won't work. It can't work," said Dr. Tuckson.

The new report also found the number of Americans without health insurance rose slightly last year. But, there were other success stories. Minnesota and Iowa increased access to bike trails. "In states like Louisiana, even with their challenges, that they have worked hard and have decreased their children in poverty rate by half -- by 50 percent -- since 1990," said Dr. Reed Tuckson.

Continued efforts like these could put the US back on the right path to better health in the coming years.

Click here for a look at the full report.



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