United Health Foundation released the 28th America’s Health Rankings Annual Report. This year, the report reveals that the nation is facing serious public health challenges, including rising rates of premature death and an uneven concentration of key health care providers. Among the key findings:
- Across the U.S., the premature death rate increased for the third straight year. This recent rise is concerning, particularly after the premature death rate declined by 20 percent from 1990 to 2015.
- Over the past five years, even some of the nation’s healthiest states by overall rank have experienced notable increases in key measures of mortality.
- For example, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, which regularly rank toward the top in overall health, have experienced large increases in drug deaths.
- The concentration of key health care providers varies widely across the country.
- Some states have six times the concentration of mental health providers than other states.
- The distribution of primary care physicians and dentists also varies across the country by approximately two to one.
- Massachusetts ranks as the healthiest state in 2017 for the first time ever, followed by Hawaii (2), Vermont (3), Utah (4) and Connecticut (5). Mississippi is ranked 50th for the second year in a row with Louisiana (49), Arkansas (48), Alabama (47) and West Virginia (46) rounding out the states with greatest opportunities for improvement.
Visit www.AmericasHealthRankings.org for more information.