The latest America’s Health Rankings annual report is hot off the presses, and New Jersey made the top 10 for the second year in a row. The state clocks in at #10 (down two spots from last year’s eighth ranking) thanks to its “low rate of drug deaths, low percentage of children in poverty, and ready availability of primary care physicians,” according to the report.
The Garden State's other strengths: a decrease in air pollution over the past five years, a decline in preventable hospitalizations, and a decrease in cardiovascular deaths over the last decade. Unfortunately, the state's obesity rate inched up by four percent since last year—from 23.7 percent to 24.6 percent of adults—which probably explains the state's drop in the rankings. New Jersey's smoking rate also increased by three percent since last year.
In case you're wondering, we Pennsylvanians don't have much to brag about this year. We ranked at 29th, down three spots from last year's 26th ranking. Smoking is down nearly 5 percent since last year, but obesity is up, from 28.6 to 29.1 percent of adults in PA now considered obese.
The healthiest states in the Union are Hawaii at #1, Vermont at #2, Minnesota at #3, Massachusetts at #4 and New Hampshire at #5. The report, put together annually by the United Health Foundation, American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention, culls data from a variety of sources, including the FBI, the American Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. Census Bureau, among others. Rankings are based criteria ranging from premature death to high school graduation rate to obesity to rates of immunizations. Check out the full report here.