NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 5, 2006

Minnesota has been named the healthiest state for the fourth consecutive year.  Louisiana, however, ranks last, a place it has been near since the rankings began in 1990, according to a report released by the United Health Foundation.

The foundation rated each state on 20 key measures of wellness, such as the rates of cancer, smoking, car accidents and high school graduation.  Key findings include:

  • Minnesota, whose score is 21 percent higher than the national average, has the country's lowest uninsured rate, 8.4 percent, and few children live in poverty or die as infants.
  • Louisiana, whose uninsured population rose 9 percent in the past year, ranked unhealthiest, and faces many challenges including high rates of obesity, children in poverty, infant mortality and overall premature death.

But Louisiana is not alone; much of nation is becoming less healthy, says Reed Tuckson, the foundation's senior vice president:

  • In 1990, 11.6 percent of Americans were obese; today, nearly 25 percent are obese.
  • The number of Americans who are uninsured has grown from 13.4 percent to 15.9 percent in the same time.
  • Worst of all, the U.S. infant mortality rate shares last place on a list of 36 countries, with the likes of Andorra, Cuba, Croatia and Estonia.

Source: Liz Szabo, "Minnesota sets bar on health again," USA Today, December 5, 2006; based upon: America's Health Rankings: A Call to Action for People & Their Communities," United Health Foundation, December 5, 2006.

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