Washington ranks ninth healthiest

The annual America’s Health Rankings report puts Washington state at No. 9 this year – dropping two spots from 2016.

The report, issued every year by United Health Foundation, ranked Massachusetts the healthiest state in 2017. Mississippi comes in last.

Washington’s strengths include its low prevalence of smoking, low preventable hospitalizations rate and low prevalence of low birthweight.

In the last five years, smoking has decreased 21 percent among adults (from 17.5 percent to 13.9 percent), according to the report. The percentage of uninsured in Washington dropped 56 percent in the last five years, from 14.2 percent to 6.3 percent of the population.

But Washington has its challenges. Among them, according to the report: high incidence of pertussis, low meningococcal immunization coverage among adolescents and a large disparity in health state by educational attainment.

Also of note: Diabetes has increased 12 percent in Washington over the last year, from 8.4 percent to 9.4 percent. Chlamydia has also increased 28 percent in the past five years, now with 406.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Massachusetts took over the No. 1 spot from Hawaii, which held the top spot for five years. Hawaii ranks No. 2 this year, followed by Vermont, Utah and Connecticut.

Mississippi ranked last for the second year. Louisiana (No. 49), Arkansas (No. 48) and Alabama (No. 47) maintained their rankings from last year, while West Virginia fell three places to No. 46.

California ranked 17th, and Oregon came in 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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