reveals Minnesota, Vermont and New Hampshire as Nation’s Healthiest
States; Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi Continue to Face Serious
PHILADELPHIA – December 12, 2005 – United
Health Foundation, together with the American Public Health Association
(APHA) and Partnership for Prevention, today released the 16th annual America’s
Health Rankings™ at the APHA’s Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.
Visit www.americashealthrankings.org to view the entire report.
While this year’s report shows that the health of the American
population has improved 18.4 percent since 1990, the rate of improvement
has slowed dramatically due to a combination of personal, community
and public health factors. During the 1990s, health in the United States
improved by an annual rate of 1.5 percent. Since 2000, that number has
slipped to an average of just 0.3 percent each year – an 80 percent
decrease in the rate of improvement.
“Our nation’s slowing rate of improvement should be of
concern to us all. Failure to address this trend, and especially to
decrease the risk factors that are associated with premature death and
disease, will result in preventable misery and unnecessary death for
too many Americans in the years to come,” stated William McGuire,
M.D., chairman, United Health Foundation Board of Directors.
According to the 2005 report, premature death, which is described
as the number of years of potential life lost prior to age 75 per 100,000
population, decreased from 8,716 to 7,398 between 1990 and 2000 – a
15 percent drop. Unfortunately, that progress has begun to erode as
premature death experienced an increase between 2000 and 2005.
Additionally, America’s Health Rankings reports that
28 countries have healthy life expectancies greater than that experienced
in the United States, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany
and Japan. In fact, a child born in Japan can expect to experience five
additional years of healthy, active life when compared to a child born
in the United States.
“This comparative information is extremely important because
it is an indication that we as a nation have not achieved optimal health,” explained
Georges Benjamin, M.D., executive director, APHA. “As Americans,
it is apparent that we can – and must – do better to improve
overall health status. And, we must do it now.”
America’s Health Rankings also focuses special attention
on the key risk factors that are associated with healthy life expectancy
and preventable disease, such as the prevalence of obesity, the prevalence
of smoking and the adequacy of prenatal care. According to the report,
the prevalence of obesity has increased from 11.6 percent of the population
in 1990 to 23.1 percent of the population in 2005. Today, nearly 1 in
4 people are considered obese, and the rate of increase shows no evidence
Additionally, the progress made in reducing the prevalence
of smoking has leveled off. While there has been a 30 percent overall
decrease in the prevalence of smoking since 1990, much of the decrease
occurred in the early 1990s. From 1993 to 2003, no noteworthy improvement
was made in decreasing the overall prevalence of smoking in the United
States. In fact, despite considerable effort, 20.8 percent of Americans