Chronic disease accounts for the majority of deaths across the country. Officials use this kind of data to categorize states by their overall health. The United Health Foundation’s 2017 annual report ranked all 50 U.S. states from healthiest to unhealthiest. The most unhealthy state reported high incidences of disease and risky health behaviors.
Rankings were based on multiple categories, including health behaviors, policies, and environment. Find out if you live in or near the lowest-ranked states on the list (wait till you see what state made No. 1).
7. South Carolina
Officials reported cancer as the cause of 201.3 per 100,000 deaths in 2017. In that same year, 277.0 per 100,000 people died as a result of heart disease.
This is not the first time South Carolina has fallen low on health ranking lists by state. It also ranked poorly in the year 2015 due to extremely higher than average rates of smoking and physical inactivity. The state reported high rates of obesity, diabetes, and overall poor mental health.
The state of Tennessee lost 216.5 per 100,000 people to cancer in 2017. About 308.0 per 100,000 people died as a result of heart disease.
In 2015, high rates of smoking and physical inactivity likely contributed to a greater prevalence of obesity and diabetes, and higher rates of heart disease and cancer deaths. Rates of poor mental and physical health days also reflect the poor state of health among Tennessee residents overall.
5. West Virginia
In 2017, the state of West Virginia reported 226.9 per 100,000 cancer deaths. Heart disease caused 295.5 per 100,000 deaths in the same year.
West Virginia saw an increase in rates of disease, disease mortality, and risky health behaviors like smoking in 2015. All these factors had a negative impact on the health of the state population as a whole, which we’re still seeing the effects of several years later.
The state of Alabama reported 339.6 per 100,000 heart disease deaths in 2017. Cancer deaths also ran high that year, accounting for 210.6 per 100,000 deaths.
According to 2015 health statistics, the state of Alabama has consistently shown high rates of smoking, physical inactivity, and poor physical and mental health days. Deaths from heart disease and cancer and rates of obesity also tend to run high in this state.
In 2017, 323.0 per 100,000 people died of heart disease, and 219.5 per 100,000 lost their lives to cancer. The rates of premature deaths increased across the state from 2012 to 2017.
The leading causes of death in Arkansas as of 2014 match most other states, with heart disease and cancer in the top spots, and diabetes and kidney disease still among the top 10. The percentage of uninsured individuals in the state exceeds the national average.
Ranked No. 49 of 50 in regards to health, Louisiana reported 316.2 per 100,000 deaths from heart disease and 17.7 per 100,000 deaths related to drugs, both in 2017. Cancer also caused 218.2 per 100,000 deaths that year.
Heart disease was the leading cause of death in Louisiana in 2014. In 2015, over 800 people across the state died of a drug overdose.
The state of Mississippi reported the lowest outcomes and highest incidences of risky health behaviors and related incidences of disease. Cancer was responsible for 226.7 per 100,000 deaths in 2017, while heart disease accounted for 352.5 per 100,000 deaths in the same year.
Both heart disease and cancer were leading causes of death in Mississippi in 2015. Over 12 percent of the state population did not have health insurance in 2016.
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