Minnesota is the nation’s healthiest state, a national survey has found, while Louisiana is the least healthy, a ranking it has held for 14 of the last 15 years.
The annual research, sponsored by the United Health Foundation, weighs such factors as health insurance coverage, heart disease rates, total and infant mortality rates, the rate of motor vehicle deaths, high school graduation rates, childhood poverty and public health spending.
This year New Hampshire came in second and Vermont third. Just above Louisiana at the bottom were Tennessee and Mississippi. California ranked 22nd.
The nation’s health showed improvement in the 1990s, with better public health spending and public education, and decreases in smoking, cardiovascular deaths and violent crime. But there’s been little improvement nationwide since 2000 -- primarily because of the spike in obesity rates.
The United Health Foundation is a nonprofit foundation established by United Health Group, the Minneapolis-based insurance company, to support public health and the work of doctors and other health providers around the country. The group undertakes the yearly study with the American Public Health Assn. and the Partnership for Prevention.