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The United Health Foundation is excited to release the 2018 America’s Health Rankings® Annual Report, which is the longest-running annual assessment of the nation’s health on a state-by-state basis. For 29 years, the report has analyzed a comprehensive set of behaviors, community and environmental conditions, policies, as well as clinical care and outcomes data to provide a holistic view of the nation’s health.
This year, the report evaluates 35 core measures across the above five categories. It also includes supplemental measures that represent such current or emerging issues facing our nation as severe housing problems, concentrated disadvantage and suicide.
The report provides a unique opportunity to track short- and long-term successes as well as identify current and emerging challenges to the nation’s health. When reading the report, it is important to look beyond the rankings. Every state has strengths and challenges. Additionally, each measure does not stand alone but is a strand in the web of health and everyday life of Americans.
America’s Health Rankings Annual Report strives to improve public health by:
  1. Providing a benchmark for states. This report gauges how the health of each state’s population changes yearly and by decade. The report also facilitates comparisons. How does each state’s health compare with the health of other states and the nation overall? Data for many measures extend back to 1990 and form a wide-angle, holistic view of state and national health.
  2. Stimulating action. This is the overarching purpose of the report — catalyze data-driven discussions that prompt positive change and improve health. Many states incorporate the report into their annual review of programs, and many organizations use the report as a reference point when assigning goals for health-improvement programs.
  3. Highlighting disparities. The state rankings show disparities in health between states and among state, national and international population groups. The report also highlights disparities by age, gender, race/ethnicity, income and urbanicity with a special focus this year on educational attainment.
The 2018 America’s Health Rankings Annual Report shows more Americans are dying prematurely than in prior years. Suicide, drug deaths, occupational fatalities and cardiovascular deaths all increased. Obesity, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer, increased nationally and in all 50 states in the past year. The report also finds self-reported frequent mental distress and frequent physical distress increased in the past two years.
On the bright side, the number of mental health providers and primary care physicians per 100,000 population increased, and the percentage of children in poverty, a strong indicator of socioeconomic status and health throughout the lifespan, decreased. Despite these national improvements, stark differences by state show unequal progress.
This website allows users to view and download the America’s Health Rankings Annual Report as well as analyze data by state or by measure of interest. The Explore section of the website provides tools to visualize trends and variations in measures by state and by such demographic characteristics as gender, race/ethnicity, age, education, income and urbanicity.
In addition, a new web tool called Adjust My Rank allows users to see how improvements or declines in various measures can impact a state’s overall rank.
America’s Health Rankings Annual Report is an evolving snapshot of state and national health. The report yields insights on how each state’s health changes and — most importantly — drives action that makes communities and states healthier.

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