Washington is ninth healthiest state

Washington is moving up in the health rankings.

United Health Foundation’s annual America’s Health Rankings show that the Evergreen State has moved into the top 10 this year – climbing from No. 13 in 2014 to No. 9.

The report identified several strengths in Washington, including a small disparity in health status by education level, low incidence of infectious disease and low rate of cardiovascular deaths.

The challenges in Washington include low high school graduation rates, low immunization coverage among children and high prevalence of excessive drinking, according to the report.

Among the core measures, Washington ranked No. 3 in clinical care and occupational fatalities, and No. 4 in low birthweight, physical inactivity and salmonella cases.

Washington also ranked No. 30 in pertussis cases, drug deaths and poor mental health days, No. 32 in excessive drinking, No. 38 in childhood immunizations and No. 41 in high school graduation rates.

Here are some additional state highlights from the report:

-Excessive drinking increased 2 percent in the last year, from 18.4 percent to 18.8 percent.

-Disparity in health status by education level decreased 30 percent in the last year, from 37.5 percent to 26.2 percent.

-In the last 10 years, cancer deaths decreased 6 percent.

-In the last 20 years, cardiovascular deaths decreased 34 percent.

This year’s health rankings put California at No. 16 and Oregon at No. 20.

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.

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