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
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
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
On the other hand states with inactive populations, mainly centered around the southeast, have the lowest life expectancies
States with worst life expectancy
- Mississippi: 71 years and 11 months
- West Virginia: 72 years and 10 months
- Louisiana: 73 years and a month
- Alabama: 73 years and two months
- Kentucky: 73 years and six months
- Tennessee, Arkansas: 73 years and 10 months
- Oklahoma: 74 years and a month
- New Mexico: 74 years and six months
- South Carolina: 74 years and 10 months
- Indiana: 75 years
States with the best life expectancy
- hawaiian: 80 years, and eight months
- Washington: 79 years and two months
- Minnesota: 79 years and a month
- California, Massachusetts and New Hampshire: 79 years
- Oregon, Vermont: 78 years and nine months
- Utah: 78 years and seven months
- Connecticut, Idaho: 78 years and five months
- Colorado: 78 years and four months
- Rhode Island: 78 years and three months
- 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
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.
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