Mississippi: Americas unhealthiest state, again

For the eighth year in a row, Mississippi finished last on the list of healthiest states.

United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association, and the Partnership for Prevention have released America’s Health Rankings (AHR) for 2009, and for the eighth year in a row, Mississippi finished last on the list of healthiest states. 

Mississippi ranked in the bottom five states in almost half of the 22 categories, including: high prevalence of obesity; low high school graduation rate; high percentage of children in poverty; limited availability of primary care physicians; and high number of preventable hospitalizations. 

Don’t expect the state to move up the list in coming years either. Mississippi has been ranked in the bottom three since 1990, and AHR concedes that the state’s “overall ranking is unlikely to change significantly in the near future.”   

AHR did note, however, that Mississippi fared well in two categories: low violent crime rate (285 offenses per 100,000 population), and low prevalence of binge drinking (11.1 percent of the population). 

Meanwhile, the southeastern states dominated the bottom of the list. Kentucky, West Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Nevada, South Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama, and Oklahoma were ranked 41st-49th, respectively.  

On the other end of the spectrum, Vermont was named the healthiest state for the third year in a row, with Utah, Massachusetts, Hawaii and New Hampshire coming in second through fifth, respectively.