Health and wellness are pivotal for leading a wholesome life. Good health is a blessing. Time and health are the two most precious assets for human beings. Good health provides better possibilities for us to overcome challenges in life and reap its benefits.
Do you know which states are truly thriving in this space? How does your state rank in health and wellness compared to the rest?
Well, you are in luck, as we bring you a comprehensive study using data sourced from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which ranks all the states based on factors that best attribute to well-being.
Hawaii ranks as the healthiest US state with the score of 79.40, while Kentucky and West Virginia are the least healthy with the score of 40 out 100 respectively. This conclusion was drawn based on the air quality, obesity prevalence, physical activity, health conditions (cholesterol, cancer, coronary heart disease), and sleeping, smoking, drinking, and food consumption habits of residents in all the states.
Healthiest States Index of The USA 2023
The Ten Healthiest States in the USA
The top 10 healthiest states include Hawaii, Colorado, Vermont, Utah, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, California, Rhode Island and New Jersey.
Hawaii secures its spot at number one with the highest score of 79.40 out of 100. Hawaii ranks as the healthiest state with a final score of 79.4. It has the lowest PM2.5 Annual Average Concentration and a relatively low obesity rate. However, it has a high percentage of adults who get less than 7 hours of sleep and a high percentage of binge-drinking adults.
The prevalence of depression in Hawaii is low at 14.86%, partly thanks to programs like “Hawaii Cares”. Binge drinking among adults is at 19.17%, and the PM2.5 air quality index is at a low 4.39%. Only 19.49% of adults don’t engage in leisure-time physical activities, helping keep the obesity rate at 25%. High cholesterol affects 29.9% of adults, the lowest among the top four states, reflecting healthy eating habits.
Following Hawaii, Colorado has the second-highest final score of 78.4. It has a low rate of obesity and high physical activity. However, its PM2.5 Annual Average Concentration is higher compared to Hawaii.
Hawaii and Colorado exhibit similar health ratings in many aspects, save for differences in sleep patterns and fruit intake.
Vermont, ranking third in health among U.S. states, has implemented successful health initiatives. Burlington’s “Farm to Plate” program increases local food production and consumption, and the “Healthy City” program promotes exercise and nutritious eating. Impressively, Vermont has the lowest percentage of adults with high cholesterol among the top four states – only 26.6%. These measures likely contribute to its high health ranking.
Utah ranks 4th among the healthiest U.S. states, despite higher obesity prevalence (30.9%) and PM2.5 concentration (7.67). It has the lowest number of binge drinkers (11.13%) and smoking adults (11.42%) among the top five states, largely due to health initiatives like “Salt Lake County Behavioral Health Services.” These programs have helped Utah achieve a final health score of 74.3.
New Hampshire, home to the city of Manchester and beautiful wilderness. With a score of 74.2, New Hampshire ranks fifth. It has low PM2.5 concentration and a lower percentage of adults who consume vegetables less than one time daily compared to many other states.
Connecticut, the charming state of Connecticut, featuring cities like Hartford and New Haven. Massachusetts ranks sixth with a final score of 73. Despite a relatively high percentage of adults with high cholesterol, it has a lower obesity rate compared to many other states.
California, the Golden State, home to cities like San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Despite having the highest PM2.5 Annual Average Concentration among the top 10, California still ranks eighth due to its lower obesity rate and lower percentage of adults with high cholesterol.
With a final score of 70.8, Rhode Island ranks ninth. It has a relatively low PM2.5 concentration and a lower percentage of adults who consume vegetables and fruits less than one time daily.
New Jersey ranks among the top 10 healthiest states in the U.S. with a score of 70.6, despite a high cholesterol prevalence among adults. Key factors contributing to this ranking could include lower rates of obesity, smoking, or binge drinking, as well as higher levels of physical activity and better sleep patterns among adults. The state might also have effective healthcare programs in place to manage cholesterol levels and other health conditions.
The Ten Least Healthy States in the USA
The two least healthy states are West Virginia and Kentucky, with both scoring 40 out of 100.
Kentucky has a slightly higher PM2.5 concentration (8.21) and obesity prevalence (40.3%), as well as the highest percentage of adults with no physical leisure-time activity (34.77%). The state also has a high rate of adults getting less than 7 hours of sleep (39.3%) and the highest percentage of current smoking adults (26.09%). Kentucky has more adults who consume vegetables (19.8%) and fruits (45%) less than once daily, contributing to high cholesterol (32.7%) and coronary heart disease (7.9%) rates. Rates of diabetes are also high.
West Virginia has an annual average PM2.5 concentration of 8. It has the highest obesity prevalence (40.6%) and a large percentage of adults with no leisure-time physical activity (30.63%). The state has a high rate of adults getting less than 7 hours of sleep (40.58%) and a high percentage of current smoking adults (25.89%). West Virginia also has a significant number of adults who consume vegetables (18.9%) and fruits (46%) less than once daily, contributing to high cholesterol (34.1%) and coronary heart disease (8%) rates.
Overall, both states have high rates of unhealthy behaviors and chronic diseases, contributing to their low overall health scores.
Louisiana (Overall Health Score: 40.2): Louisiana’s health is affected by high rates of obesity (33.54%), smoking (38.6%), and a lack of physical activity. New Orleans is a well-known city in Louisiana.
Alabama (Overall Health Score: 43.9): Alabama faces health challenges like high obesity rates (32.83%) and smoking rates (39.9%). The state also has a low percentage of physically active residents. Birmingham is a notable city in Alabama.
Arkansas (Overall Health Score: 46.2): Arkansas has a high obesity rate (33.44%) and high smoking rate (38.7%). Little Rock is a significant city in Arkansas.
Oklahoma (Overall Health Score: 46.3): Oklahoma’s health issues include high obesity rates (32.49%) and smoking rates (39.4%). Oklahoma City is a well-known city in this state.
Mississippi (Overall Health Score: 47.0): Mississippi has a high obesity rate (35.74%) and smoking rate (39.1%). Jackson is a notable city in Mississippi.
Tennessee (Overall Health Score: 47.5): Tennessee has high obesity rates (31.23%) and smoking rates (35%). Nashville is a significant city in this state.
Ohio (Overall Health Score: 50.7): Ohio has high obesity rates (28.41%) and smoking rates (37.8%). Cleveland, as you mentioned, is a notable city in Ohio.
Missouri (Overall Health Score: 50.9): Missouri has high obesity rates (30.59%) and smoking rates (37.3%). Kansas City is a well-known city in Missouri.
Large States That Failed to Make the Top Ten
New York (Overall Health Score: 64.4): New York, showcases its grit with a reasonable obesity rate of 29.1%, defying the notion that the Big Apple’s famous pizza and bagels always tip the scales! Despite being known for its bustling city life, New York surprises with a satisfactory air quality, clocking an annual average PM2.5 concentration of just 6.91 μg/m³ – a testament to the state’s commitment to preserving its blue skies. However, it’s not all sunshine and roses, as the state battles a higher smoking rate of 18.56%.
Texas (Overall Health Score: 55.1): Texas has a high obesity rate (36.1%) and a relatively average smoking rate (18.89%). The prevalence of adults with no physical leisure-time activity is 30.18%.
Florida (Overall Health Score: 57.4): Florida has a high obesity rate of 33.5% and adult smoking rate of 21.37%. The prevalence of depression among adults is 17.8%, but other state-specific mental health data is not available. High percentages of adults are inactive, get insufficient sleep, and consume fruits infrequently. These factors significantly contribute to Florida’s health score.
Pennsylvania ranks 29th healthiest in the US, with an overall health score of 59.7. It has a 33.3% obesity rate, 25.22% of adults lack leisure-time physical activity, and 36.11% sleep less than seven hours. Smoking and binge-drinking rates are 21.02% and 19.76%, respectively. Daily fruit and vegetable consumption is low. High cholesterol affects 28.9% of adults, while 6.03% have coronary heart disease. The state also has high rates of adult cancer (6.37%) and depression (22.27%).
While a handful of states show robust health statistics, most states have a long way to go in increasing health and wellness standards. Most attributes for each factor slightly differ from one state to another, but the overall score paints an alarming picture. There is a significant gap between the healthiest states and the least healthy states.
To determine the healthiest states, we assessed all 50 states in the US based on 12 different criteria and assigned a score out of 100 for each criterion. These individual scores were then combined and weighted to obtain a final score of 100.
The data for these key indicators were collected from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The indicators include Annual Average PM2.5 Concentration (Air Quality), Obesity Percentage, Adults with No Physical Leisure-time Activity, Prevalence of Sleeping Less Than 7 Hours Among Adults, Current Smoking Rates for Adults, Percentage of Binge Drinkers Among Adults, Percent of Adults Who Report Consuming Vegetables Less Than Once Daily, Percent of Adults Who Report Consuming Fruits Less Than Once Daily, Percentage of Adults with High Blood Cholesterol, Prevalence of Cancer Among Adults, Prevalence of Depression Among Adults, and Prevalence of Coronary Heart Disease Among Adults.
- The actual scores are padded to 40-80 for more realistic-looking scores.
- Weights for each feature are as below:
|1||Annual Average PM2.5 Concentration||-0.75|
|3||Adults with No Physical Leisure-time Activity||-1|
|4||Prevalence of Sleeping Less Than 7 Hours Among Adults||-1|
|5||Current Smoking Adults||-0.75|
|6||Percentage of Binge Drinkers Among Adults||-1|
|7||Percent of adults who report consuming vegetables less than one time daily||-1|
|8||Percent of adults who report consuming fruits less than one time daily||-1|
|9||Percentage of Adults with High Blood Cholesterol||-1|
|10||Prevalence of Cancer Among Adults||-1.25|
|11||Prevalence of Depression Among Adults||-0.75|
|12||Prevalence of Coronary Heart Disease Among Adults||-1.25|