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By Richard Asinof
MINNETONKA, Minn. – Rhode Island is the 10th healthiest state in the nation for the third consecutive year, according to United Health Foundation’s America’s 2012 Health Rankings released today.
For the sixth year in a row, Vermont is ranked as the nation’s healthiest state. Hawaii is ranked second, followed by New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Minnesota.
The five least healthy states are South Carolina (46), West Virginia (47), Arkansas (48), and Mississippi and Louisiana, which tied for the 49th slot.
The determinants in the rankings included behaviors, policy, clinical care, community and environment and outcomes.
Rhode Island was ranked No. 2 in immunization coverage for children ages 19 to 35 months. It was ranked No. 3 in the number of primary care physicians per 100,000 population.
Among Rhode Island’s worst results as part of the rankings were in the number of poor mental health days (42nd), preventable hospitalizations (36th) and binge drinking (35th). The number of cancer deaths and cardiovascular deaths per 100,000 population were both ranked 29th.
“As a nation, we’ve made extraordinary gains in longevity over the past decades, but as individuals we are regressing in our health,” said Dr. Reed Tuckson, medical adviser, United Health Foundation, and executive vice president and chief of medical affairs, UnitedHealth Group. “We owe this progress not only to medical breakthroughs, but to public health advocates who are working tirelessly to advance wellness on the community level. But our public health heroes cannot do it alone. Longer lives need not be sicker lives, so we must all come together to do more to prevent the risk factors within our personal control.”
The report should be read as a call to action, according to Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “The America’s Health Rankings report is a call to action for individuals – and the communities in which they live – to do something about the nation’s health crisis now,” he said.
America’s Health Rankings, begun in 1990, is the longest-running comparative health index of states. The rankings are sponsored by the United Health Foundation and conducted in partnership with the American Public Health Association and the Partnership for Prevention.
For the full list, visit: www.americashealthrankings.org.