BY GINA G. SCALA
The good news is Americans are living longer than ever before; the bad news they aren’t necessarily living a healthy life.
"As a nation, we've made extraordinary gains in longevity over the past decades, but as individuals we are regressing in our health," Dr. Reed Tuckson, a medical adviser at the United Health Foundation and chief of medical affairs at the UnitedHealth Group, said.
Cardiovascular deaths have decreased by 35 percent; premature deaths by 18 percent and cancer deaths by 8 percent since 1990, according to the United Health Foundation’s annual report on the nation’s health.
Still, unhealthy behavior persists; leading to more than 30 percent of a high blood pressure rate; 2 percent adult obesity rate and a 10 percent diabetes rate, the report found.
The healthiest state in the nation, according to the report, is Vermont. New Jersey jumped 11 spots from 17 in 2011 to eighth this year.
Even with 1.1 million adult smokers, the Garden State has one of the lowest smoking rates in the country, the report found. It also has a low obesity rate, according to the findings.
However, the health challenges include a high number of couch potatoes; more than most other states and more prevalent in Hispanics (36.9 percent) than Caucasians (22.7 percent). Obesity is also high; with 36 percent in African-Americans; 27 percent in Hispanics and 23.3 percent in Caucasians, the report found.
The Garden State also has a high level of uninsured residents and a high rate of preventable hospitalizations, according to the report.
Still, New Jersey significantly outranks its neighbors. New York is the closest, coming in at 18; Pennsylvania is number 26 on the list and Delaware is at 31.
The unhealthiest states are Mississippi and Louisiana; mainly due to high rates of obesity, diabetes and a low birth weight among infants, the report found.