For Immediate Release: Dec. 5, 2006
Media Contact: Communication Office
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Vermont was ranked the second healthiest state in the nation as the United Health Foundation, together with the American Public Health Association (APHA) and Partnership for Prevention, today released the 2006 America’s Health Rankings: A Call to Action for People & Their Communities™.
Vermont also ranked second in 2005, both years finishing behind Minnesota.
Of all the states, Vermont had the lowest number of motor vehicle deaths per 100 million miles driven, and the lowest percentage of children living in poverty.
Vermont was also highly rated for ready access to adequate prenatal care (2nd best in nation), a low violent crime rate (3rd in nation) and a low premature death rate (3rd in nation).
“The report clearly highlights that Vermont continues to be among the best places in the nation for overall health,” said Vermont Health Commissioner Sharon Moffatt, RN, MSN. “Two areas that we can be particularly proud of are the prevalence of smoking has decreased by 37 percent in Vermont since 1990, and the percentage of children in poverty has decreased by 28 percent since 1990.”
Americans as a whole are only 0.3 percent healthier than they were at this time last year, according to this year’s report. This increase is significantly lower than the nation’s average annual improvement of 1.5 percent documented between 1990 and 2000, and only keeps pace with the 0.3 percent average annual national improvement since the year 2000. The report also observes that the United States continues to trail other nations in important statistics such as healthy life expectancy and infant mortality.
This year, the report ranks Minnesota as the healthiest state in the nation for the fourth year in a row. Vermont (2) is followed by New Hampshire, Hawaii and Connecticut. Louisiana is ranked as the least-healthy state, while Mississippi (49), South Carolina (48), Tennessee (47) and Arkansas (46) complete the bottom five.
About America’s Health Rankings
The purpose of America’s Health Rankings™ is to provide information that encourages an informed public conversation about health status, and to stimulate appropriate personal behaviors, community interventions, public and health policies, and clinical care delivery.
America’s Health Rankings™ combines 18 individual measures classified within these four determinants of health into one comprehensive view of the health of all 50 states separately and collectively. It employs an expertly designed methodology that weights the contributions of various factors such as smoking, preventable disease, high school graduation rates, children in poverty, disease and death rates, and other factors to determining a community’s health.
The report’s methodology was developed and is periodically reviewed by a panel of top public health scholars, led by the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The report is based on data from the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Commerce, Education and Labor, the National Safety Council and the National Association of State Budget Officers.
To view the entire report, please visit www.americashealthrankings.org or www.unitedhealthfoundation.org. To view the Vermont report in pdf format, go to http://www.arundelstreet.com/ahr2006/pdf/Vermont.pdf