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America's Health Fails to Improve


For the fourth consecutive year, the health of Americans has failed to improve. For 19 years, the United Health Foundation has provided an annual analysis of the nation's health in their America's Health Rankings report. This year's report was published in December 2008.

The nations three most critical challenges are smoking, obesity, and the uninsured.

Reductions in smoking have stalled in the last four years. Yet it is estimated that one out of every five deaths each year in the United States are due to the adverse health effects from smoking. according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),

The number of obese citizens has more than doubled in the last 19 years. Health issues associated with obesity include heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer (breast, colon, and gallbladder).

The large number of Americans uninsured (nearly 46 million) often fail to receive adequate medical care for chronic conditions or to receive preventive treatment early.

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The report shows that despite the discouraging overall national story, some states have and are making significant strides. The biggest example is Vermont.

Vermont is once again the healthiest state, as they were last year. Nineteen years ago Vermont ranked 16th, but has climbed steadily in the ranking over the last eight years. Their statewide prevalence of smoking has decreased by 43% since 1990 and is currently at 17.6% of their population. Vermont has had a slower rise in obesity than the rest of the United States. Their uninsured population remains low.

Vermont also has a low number of children in poverty, a high rate of high school graduation, a high level of immunization, and a low infant mortality rate. Their population has a ready access to primary care.

You can go here to see where your state ranks, but their are things you as an individual can do to improve your own health.

* If you smoke, quit today.
* Exercise. Walking is a simple easy thing to do.
* Eat healthy.
* Know your own health and family health history.

American Health Foundation