America’s Health Rankings® is built upon the World Health Organization definition of health: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
The understanding of population health has changed considerably over the past 30 years. Beginning in 2020, the America’s Health Rankings is transitioning to a new model that reflects a growing understanding of the impact social determinants have on health and the need for collaboration and action by stakeholders across sectors to reduce inequities and improve health outcomes.
The new 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.
Also new in 2020 are topics within categories. For example, substance use and physical activity and nutrition are two topics within the behaviors category. Category topics were created to group related measures, and therefore help derive additional insights, dialogue and action.

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