HI: Healthiest State

By HNN Staff| December 13, 2018 at 12:40 PM HST – Updated December 13 at 12:43 PM

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Residents of Hawaii have reclaimed their title as the healthiest in the country, according to an annual report released this week by the United Health Foundation.

It’s the fifth time in six years that Hawaii has claimed the top spot. Massachusetts, which finished second in this year’s rankings, held the top spot in 2017.

Since the report began being issued in 1990, Hawaii has never finished worse than sixth, the ranking earned in 2002.

The model, according to the report’s executive summary, compiles data in nearly 30 separate categories and applies them to an overall score.

Many of the major contributing factors toward’s Hawaii’s healthy status are lifestyle based; the study listed Hawaii as having America’s second-lowest percentage of obese residents, the fourth-lowest percentage of residents who identify as smokers, and the ninth-highest percentage of residents who exercise regularly.

Air quality in Hawaii is listed as sixth-best in the country, a ranking no doubt influenced more by volcanic haze, or vog, than by traditional air pollutants.

Hawaii reported the second-fewest cancer-related deaths and third-fewest cardiovascular-related deaths per 100,000 residents in the country. The second-fewest percentage of adults who reported high levels of stress were Hawaii residents, too.

The state’s least-healthy habit, according to the report? We sure seem to like alcohol. More than 21 percent of Hawaii residents admit to excessive drinking; only eight states reported higher numbers.

The report listed several encouraging trends; the percentage of Hawaii residents who identify as smokers as decreased by nearly 25% over the last six years, and the percentage of Hawaii’s uninsured residents continues to fall.

Four of the five least-healthy states in the country can be found in the south; Oklahoma, which rounded out the bottom five at 47, experienced the most significant year-to-year decline of any state in the country.

Coincidentally, being healthy isn’t the only thing Hawaii residents can hang their hat on; a 2018 study by the personal finance website WalletHub found that residents who lived across the island chain were also the happiest in the nation.

West Virginia, which was listed as the least-happy state in the country in that WalletHub report, was hit with a double-whammy: they were also named the most unhealthy state in the nation by America’s Health Rankings.

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