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The ten best and worst states in the US for a long and healthy life

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The ten best and worst states in the US for a combination of both a long and healthy life have been revealed and California was not among the top five.

Hawaii was rated the highest overall for those seeking a healthy lifestyle and high life expectancy, followed by Minnesota, Vermont, Washington and New Hampshire.

Similarly, states with the lowest life expectancy tend to be states with the least healthy lifestyles and were mainly in the southeast. West Virginia was ranked last overall, followed by Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Kentucky.

Notably, California did not even make the top five most healthy states, ranking 14th for healthy lifestyle, but it tied fifth with Massachusetts and New Hampshire for life expectancy.

‘Life expectancy’ is determined by a number of factors, including healthcare and murder rates, but a study carried out by biomedical research and longevity society, Life Extension, suggests general healthiness plays a major role too.

States like Hawaii, Minnesota, Vermont, Washington and New Hampshire have both healthy lifestyles and higher life expectancies, according to a new study by biomedical research and longevity society Life Extension

States like Hawaii, Minnesota, Vermont, Washington and New Hampshire have both healthy lifestyles and higher life expectancies, according to a new study by biomedical research and longevity society Life Extension

Hawaii was the only state with a life expectancy greater than 80 and was also the fourth most healthy, according to federal data.  Pictured is the famous Waikiki Beach in Honolulu

Hawaii was the only state with a life expectancy greater than 80 and was also the fourth most healthy, according to federal data. Pictured is the famous Waikiki Beach in Honolulu

The study analyzed federal data of eight measures of health to determine which states have the healthiest lifestyles, and compared that to their actual life expectancies.

The overall healthy lifestyle ranking was informed by federal data measuring the following: amounts of exercise, proximity to parks and schools, fruit and vegetable consumption, hours of sleep, body weight, number of single people, anxiety levels and state expenditure on outdoor recreation.

Although it was found that there was a strong correlation between healthy lifestyles and life expectancy, there were also some exceptions.

Outliers include DC and Montana, where life expectancies were low despite the fact they appeared to have healthy lifestyles.

In general, DC’s low life expectancy was explained by racial disparities and a high incidence of heart disease, cancer and homicide, according to the Life Extension study. DC is also a city and not a state, so it often appears off when considering state-wide data.

Minnesota ranked second highest for living a long and healthy life.  Its life expectancy is among the highest at 79 years and a month.  Pictured is the Minnesota State Capitol building

Minnesota ranked second highest for living a long and healthy life. Its life expectancy is among the highest at 79 years and a month. Pictured is the Minnesota State Capitol building

West Virginia ranked last for combined life expectancy and general healthiness.  Pictured is its capital city Charleston

West Virginia ranked last for combined life expectancy and general healthiness. Pictured is its capital city Charleston

States in which more money was directed towards outdoor recreational activities tended to have higher life expectancies

States in which more money was directed towards outdoor recreational activities tended to have higher life expectancies

On the other hand states with inactive populations, mainly centered around the southeast, have the lowest life expectancies

On the other hand states with inactive populations, mainly centered around the southeast, have the lowest life expectancies

States with worst life expectancy

  1. Mississippi: 71 years and 11 months
  2. West Virginia: 72 years and 10 months
  3. Louisiana: 73 years and a month
  4. Alabama: 73 years and two months
  5. Kentucky: 73 years and six months
  6. Tennessee, Arkansas: 73 years and 10 months
  7. Oklahoma: 74 years and a month
  8. New Mexico: 74 years and six months
  9. South Carolina: 74 years and 10 months
  10. Indiana: 75 years

States with the best life expectancy

  1. hawaiian: 80 years, and eight months
  2. Washington: 79 years and two months
  3. Minnesota: 79 years and a month
  4. California, Massachusetts and New Hampshire: 79 years
  5. Oregon, Vermont: 78 years and nine months
  6. Utah: 78 years and seven months
  7. Connecticut, Idaho: 78 years and five months
  8. Colorado: 78 years and four months
  9. Rhode Island: 78 years and three months
  10. Maine: 77 years and nine months

The above graph shows life expectancy in the US by year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Rates plateaued in the mid-2010s but dropped off after the Covid pandemic - which led to many people dying prematurely.  Experts say the surging opioid epidemic is also to blame for the fall

The above graph shows life expectancy in the US by year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rates plateaued in the mid-2010s but dropped off after the Covid pandemic – which led to many people dying prematurely. Experts say the surging opioid epidemic is also to blame for the fall

On the other hand, Connecticut and New York had higher life expectancies given the relatively unhealthy lifestyles of their inhabitants.

Montana, Alaska and North Carolina had generally good health habits but only average life expectancies.

Lower life expectancy in poorer states has also been blamed on worse healthcare systems and more residents without health insurance.

However, those states also have higher rates of chronic diseases – such as obesity – raising the risk of a myriad of other conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure later in life.

America’s life expectancy was 79 years and a month in 2020, according to data from the National Vital Statistics System.

Last year marked second year on record that it had declined, and an almost two-year downturn from 2019. Every single state registered a decline in life expectancy between 2019 and 2020.

New York – which was a hit especially bad during the first year of Covid – saw the largest decline, falling almost three years.

BEST STATES FOR THE HEALTHIEST AND LONGEST LIVES
state overall rating Life expectancy Healthy lifestyle ranking
hawaiian 1 80.7 4
Minnesota 2 79.1 5
Vermont 2 78.8 1
Washington 4 79.2 8
New Hampshire 5 79 7
Utah 6 78.6 3
Colorado 7 78.3 2
Massachusetts 8 79 11
Californian 9 79 14
Oregon 10 78.8 12
Idaho 11 78.4 10
Wisconsin 12 77.7 13
Rhode Island 13 78.2 17
Montana 14 76.8 9
Connecticut 15 78.4 23
New Jersey 16 77.5 15
Maine 17 77.8 21
New York 18 77.7 25
Florida 19 77.5 22
Maryland 19 76.8 18
Illinois 21 76.8 19
Nebraska 22 77.7 28
DC 23 75.3 6
Virginia 24 77.6 27
Alaska 24 76.6 16
lowa 27 77.5 35
North Carolina 28 76.1 20
Delaware 29 76.7 29
Wyoming 29 76.3 24
Pennsylvania 31 76.8 34
North Dakota 32 76.9 38
Kansas 33 76.4 33
Arizona 33 76.3 32
Michigan 35 76 30
Nevada 36 76.3 36
Texas 37 76.5 40
Georgian 38 75.6 37
New Mexico 38 74.5 31
Ohio 40 75.3 42
Indiana 40 75 39
Missouri 42 75.1 41
South Carolina 43 74.8 43
Tennessee 44 73.8 44
Oklahoma 45 74.1 46
Arkansas 45 73.8 45
Kentucky 47 73.5 47
Louisiana 48 73.1 48
Alabama 49 73.2 50
Mississippi 50 71.9 49
West Virginia 51 72.8 51