2016 Annual Report: Years of Positive Health Gains in the United States Threatened by Rise in Cardiovascular and Drug Deaths

  • Notable long-term improvements in reducing the prevalence of
    smoking, rate of preventable hospitalizations among Medicare
    beneficiaries, and percentage of uninsured population
  • Prevalence of obesity among adult population remains high, and
    rising rates of cardiovascular and drug deaths signal serious health
  • Hawaii ranks as nation’s healthiest state for the fifth straight

MINNETONKA, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The nation’s health is seeing concerning upticks in key health
indicators that threaten to offset years of public health successes,
according to the key findings in United Health Foundation’s 27th
America’s Health Rankings Annual Report®.

Through an analysis of 34 measures of behaviors, community and
environment, policies and clinical care data, America’s Health
Rankings Annual Report
provides a holistic view of the nation’s

U.S. Sees Long-Term Improvements against Public Health Challenges
Including Smoking, Preventable Hospitalizations and Rate of Uninsured

The report finds that the United States has made notable long-term
improvements across key health indicators, including:

  • A reduction in the prevalence of smoking among adults. Since 1990,
    smoking among adults has decreased by 41 percent – including a 17
    percent decrease in the last four years.
  • Preventable hospitalizations have declined by 35 percent over the past
    decade, and achieved a 13 percent decline in the past year alone.
  • In the past five years, the rate of uninsured Americans declined by 35
    percent – from 16.2 percent to 10.6 percent, which is the lowest point
    in the report’s 27-year history.

Rising Rates of Obesity, and Cardiovascular and Drug Deaths Signal
Serious Health Challenges

While Americans have made substantial health gains in key areas, the
report highlights serious challenges for the country that are eroding
these hard-won gains, such as:

  • For the first time in the 27-year history of the America’s Health
    Rankings’ Annual Report
    , the cardiovascular death rate has
    increased in the past year (from 250.8 to 251.7 deaths per 100,000).
  • The rate of drug deaths has increased by 9 percent over the past five
    years, and increased by 4 percent in just the past year.
  • The premature death rate has increased for the second consecutive year
    – suggesting a troubling trend.
  • Since the first America’s Health Rankings’ Annual Report was
    released in 1990, the prevalence of obesity among adults has
    increased by an astounding 157 percent.

State Rankings in 2016: Hawaii Ranks 1st,
Mississippi Ranks 50

  • Hawaii ranks as the healthiest state in 2016 for the fifth straight
    year, followed by Massachusetts (2), Connecticut (3), Minnesota (4)
    and Vermont (5).
  • Mississippi drops from 49th to 50th this year,
    replacing Louisiana, now 49th. Arkansas (48), Alabama (47)
    and Oklahoma (46) round out the states with greatest opportunities for

“We have made important strides across the country against public health
challenges; however, we are at a crossroads between a healthier future
as a nation and a future in which troubling public health measurements
become increasingly common,” said Reed Tuckson, M.D., external senior
medical adviser to United Health Foundation. “Of particular concern is
the first-time rise in cardiovascular deaths, despite all the medical
advances in this area. This data provides a roadmap for states, local
communities and the public health sector to work together to get ahead
of the challenges coming.”

About America’s Health Rankings and the 27th
Annual Report

America’s Health Rankings Annual Report is the longest-running
annual assessment of the nation’s health on a state-by-state basis. For
27 years, the report has analyzed a comprehensive set of behaviors,
community and environmental conditions, policies, clinical care and
outcomes data to provide a holistic view of the health of the nation.

The longevity of the report and wealth of credible data available for
analysis provide a unique opportunity to track both short- and long-term
successes and identify current and emerging challenges to the nation’s

United Health Foundation has recently expanded its reporting series to
include a number of spotlight reports focused on important markers of
the nation’s health, including prevention and the impacts of unhealthy
behaviors, and population reports on the health of seniors, of women and
children and of those who have served. For more information, visit www.americashealthrankings.org.

About United Health Foundation

Through collaboration with community partners, grants and outreach
efforts, United Health Foundation works to improve our health system,
build a diverse and dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being
of local communities. United Health Foundation was established by
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private
foundation dedicated to improving health and health care. To date,
United Health Foundation has committed nearly $315 million to programs
and communities around the world. We invite you to learn more at www.unitedhealthgroup.com/SocialResponsibility
or follow Facebook.com/UHGGives.

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United Health Foundation
Danielle Varallo, 202-654-8847