America’s Health Rankings® is built upon the World Health Organization’s definition of health: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Understanding of the factors that contribute to population health has changed considerably over the past 30 years. In response to growing awareness of the impact of social determinants of health, America’s Health Rankings transitioned to a new model in 2020. The model reflects the need for collaboration and action by stakeholders across sectors such as education, environment, housing and transit to reduce inequities and improve health outcomes.
The America’s Health Rankings model was developed under the guidance of the America’s Health Rankings’ advisory council and committees, with insights from other rankings and health models, namely County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and Healthy People. The model serves as a framework for identifying and quantifying health drivers and outcomes that impact state and national population health.
The model contains topics within categories. For example, economic resources and social support and engagement are two topics within the social and economic factors category. Category topics were created to group related measures and therefore help derive additional insights, dialogue and action.



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