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America’s Health Rankings Annual Report examines the relative health of the 50 states and the District of Columbia in relation to national benchmarks. In this section we broaden our scope to evaluate how the health of the U.S. population compares with member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This analysis compares infant mortality, obesity and life expectancy in the top state, bottom state and U.S. with infant mortality, obesity and life expectancy in OECD member countries.
Results show the U.S. has a higher infant mortality rate, a higher prevalence of obesity and a lower life expectancy at birth compared with most OECD member countries. Even the top U.S. state in each of these measures ranks toward the bottom among OECD countries.
Thirty-five countries, including the United States, comprise the OECD. The OECD's mission is to promote economic development and social well-being of people worldwide. The OECD collects and analyzes data from each of the member countries on a wide range of topics, including certain health measures.

According to this year’s Americas Health Rankings report, the U.S. infant mortality rate is 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. This infant mortality rate places the U.S. at No. 32 out of 35 OECD countries (Figure 44). New Hampshire has the lowest infant mortality rate in the U.S. at 4.2 deaths per 1,000 live births, yet if it were an OECD country, it would rank No. 28 and be tied with Hungary. Only Turkey (10.7 deaths per 1,000 live births) and Mexico (12.5 deaths per 1,000 live births) have higher infant mortality rates than Mississippi, the state with the highest infant mortality rate at 8.8 deaths per 1,000 live births.

According to this year’s America’s Health Rankings report, an estimated 29.9 percent of U.S. adults have obesity. When compared with the 32 OECD countries with obesity data, the U.S. ranks last (Figure 45). In top-ranking Korea, only 2.8 percent of the population aged 15 and older have obesity. Australia ranks No. 31 at 21.3 percent. Colorado, the state with the lowest prevalence of obesity at 22.3 percent of adults, would also rank last among OECD countries.

Life Expectancy

The U.S. life expectancy at birth of 78.9 years ranks No. 27 out of 35 OECD countries (Figure 46). Hawaii has the highest life expectancy in the U.S. at 81.3 years. If Hawaii were an OECD country, it would rank No. 18 and be tied with Austria. Mississippi, the state with the lowest life expectancy at 75.0 years, is the same as Mexico.

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