N.J. ranked 11th healthiest state, up from 17th in 2010 | Healthquest | NewJerseyNewsroom.com -- Your State. Your News.

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N.J. ranked 11th healthiest state, up from 17th in 2010

health120711_optSmoking has decreased but diabetes, obesity increasing

BY TOM HESTER SR.
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

New Jersey is considered the nation’s 11th healthiest state this year, up from 17th in 2010, according to rankings released Wednesday by the United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Foundation and the Partnership for Prevention.

Smoking among New Jersey adults has decreased from 21 percent to 14.4 percent in the past ten years but 969,000 adults still smoke, according to statistics provided by the health organizations.

In the past year, the rate of preventable hospitalizations among senior citizens has decreased from 76.2 to 71.6 discharges.

In the past five years, diabetes increased from 7.7 percent to 9.2 percent of the adult population. There are now 619,000 New Jersey adults with diabetes.

In the past 10 years, obesity increased from 18.5 percent to 24.8 percent of the population, with nearly 1.7 million obese adults in the state.

Vermont and New Hampshire are considered the healthiest states and Louisiana and Mississippi the unhealthiest. New York ranks 18th, Pennsylvania 26th and Delaware 30th. New Jersey ranks just behind Rhode Island and just ahead of North Dakota.

The rankings take into account a number of elements that impact health, including personal health behaviors, the environment, the community, state health policies, the quality of clinical care and even the violent crime rate.

The health organizations found New Jersey’s strengths include a high rate of high school graduation (5th in the nation), a low percentage of children in poverty (8th) and the availability of primary care physicians (8th). Its challenges include low use of early prenatal care (45th) and low immunization coverage (45th).

In New Jersey, obesity is more prevalent among non-Hispanic blacks at 35.9 percent than non-Hispanic whites at 23.1 percent and Hispanics at 26.8 percent. Diabetes also varies by race and ethnicity; 13.7 percent of non-Hispanic blacks have diabetes compared to 7.8 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 8.5 percent of Hispanics.

Here is how New Jersey ranks when compared to other states:

Obesity 12th

Smoking 6th

Binge drinking 18th

Children in poverty 8th

Infectious disease 13th

Air pollution 25th

Violent crime 21st

Diabetes 30th

Occupational fatalities 8th

Lack of health coverage 30th

Immunization coverage 45th

Public health funding 30th

Preventable hospitalizations 34th

Early prenatal care 45th

Primary care physicians 8th

Cardiovascular deaths 26th

Cancer deaths 30th

Infant mortality 7th

Poor mental health days 19th

Premature death 9th

Physican activity 39th

Teen birth rate 5th

Cholesterol check 7th

Annual dental visit 7th

Poor physical health days 19th

Diet of fruit and vegetables 9th

High blood pressure 22nd

Heart attack 14th

Cardiac heart disease 16th

High cholesterol 19th

Stroke 16th

Low birthweight 34th

Preterm birth 36th

Personal income, per capita 3rd

Unemployment rate (August) 36th

Unemployment rate (annual) 31st

Underemployment rate 28th

Income disparity 34th

Median household income 4th

Health status 23rd

 

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