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Report Says U.S. National Health May Decline

Armen Hareyan's picture
National Health

Americans' health improved by 18 percent between 1990 and 2000, but has leveled off over the past four years and may be about to decline, according to the 2008 America's Health Rankings report released Wednesday.

Weight gain, tobacco addiction and rising rates of chronic diseases are the most serious threats to previous advances in the nation's health, USA Today reported. Read also The Key Findings Of America's Health Rankings.

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"This is a perfect storm," said Reed Tuckson, of the United Health Foundation, one of the report sponsors, along with the American Public Health Association and the Partnership for Prevention.

Researchers analyzed 22 health measures, including access to medical care, immunizations, prenatal care, infant mortality, heart disease deaths, infectious disease deaths, smoking cessation, violent crime, and occupational fatalities.

Vermont, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Utah were the healthiest states while Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana were the least healthy, said the health rankings report, USA Today reported.

Vermont, the healthiest state, had a lower smoking rate than the national average (17.6 percent vs. 20 percent), a slower increase in obesity than the national rate, and a higher percentage of people with health insurance. Louisiana, the least healthy state, had a high infant death rate, high cancer death rates, and high rates of racial disparities in health care, according to the report.