Washington is 13th healthiest state

Washington ranked 13th healthiest state in this year’s America’s Health Rankings produced by United Health Foundation.

The rankings highlight Washington’s strengths – low prevalence of physical inactivity, low prevalence of low birth weights and low rate of preventable hospitalizations – as well as its challenges – high rate of pertussis (whooping cough), high rate of drug deaths and large disparity in health status by education level.

America's Health Rankings

America’s Health Rankings

Nationwide, the reduction in smoking rates and improvements in adolescent immunization rates are offset by rising rates of obesity and physical inactivity.

Nationwide, obesity among adults increased 7 percent from 27.6 percent to 29.4 percent.

In Washington, 27.2 percent of adults are obese (ranked 18th in the U.S.). Adults ages 45 to 64 have the highest obesity rate (32.9 percent) in Washington.

The percentage of adults in the U.S. who reported not participating in any physical activity in the last 30 days increased from 22.9 percent to 23.5 percent.

Washington ranks No. 5 in physical inactivity with 19 percent of adults saying they had not exercised recently. The only states with better rates are Colorado, Oregon, California and Vermont.

Overall, Hawaii is the healthiest state in the country, followed by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Utah. The least healthy state is Mississippi, preceded by Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky and Oklahoma.

Oregon ranked No. 12. California is 17th, and Idaho is 18th.

Here are some highlights in Washington:

-In the last year, pertussis increased more than 400 percent from 14.3 to 72.1 cases per 100,000 people, according to the report. That ranks Washington at 47th in the country in pertussis cases. (Louisiana is No. 1 with 1.6 cases per 100,000.)

-In the last two years, smoking among adults decreased from 17.5 percent to 16.1 percent. Washington is ranked No. 7 in adult smoking rates. (Utah is No. 1 with 10.3 percent.)

-Washington ranks 32nd in drug deaths, with 14 drug deaths per 100,000 people. The highest ranked state is North Dakota with 3 deaths per 100,000.

-Washington ranks No. 8 in cardiovascular deaths with 214.8 deaths due to cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) per 100,000 people.

-In the past decade, preventable hospitalizations decreased by 26 percent from 53.3 to 39.3 per 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries. Washington ranks No. 6 in this category.

-Since 1990, infant mortality decreased by 50 percent from 9.7 to 4.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. Washington ranks No. 7 in this category.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

Scroll to top