MA is the healthiest state in the US

John Tlumacki  The Boston Globe

This is the elemental time that MA has been depicted as the healthiest state eliminating the Hawaii's five-year reign. "This report serves as an important tool for healthcare professionals, policy makers, and communities in their collaborative efforts to address these challenges, and help build healthier communities across the nation", Rhonda Randall, DO, senior adviser to United Health Foundation, and chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare Retiree Solutions, said in a statement.

For the third straight year, deaths before the age of 75 increased across the US, according to the America's Health Rankings annual report, compiled by the United Health Foundation.

MA got the honor due to its high number of mental health providers, low prevalence of obesity, and the lowest percent of uninsured residents, with a number of just 2.7 percent of the population.

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This is the first time MA has been named the healthiest state, ending Hawaii's five-year reign.

Another state that did well overall, Utah, which is ranked as the fourth-healthiest state, also saw one of the largest increases in the cardiovascular death rate - up 10% since 2012. Utah improved its rankings in air pollution and immunization rates among young children.

"This report is vital for gauging how the health of each state's population changes by year and decade", the authors wrote in the report. Lower measures for smoking, salmonella food poisoning and immunizations among children were key factors in that decline. Among the state's strengths are its low percentage of uninsured people, low prevalence of obesity, and high vaccination rates.

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North Dakota experienced the largest rank decline, falling seven places to number 18.

Yet the US spends significantly more on health care - both per person and relative to its wealth - than other nations.

Data is based on statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care and the Health Services and Resource Administration, among other federal and private agencies throughout the U.S.

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Disparities include the findings that there are 547 mental health professionals per 100,000 in MA, compared with only 85 per 100,000 in Alabama, and rates of vaccination with the full HPV vaccine series among girls ranged from 31% in SC to 73% in Rhode Island.

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